To answer the questions asked about where the best Minnesota Bred horses come from, I took MN breds that raced over the last few years and isolated their top speed ratings in the attached chart.
I did not simply look at earnings. Earnings are an indicator of excellence but are also related to race conditions. In other words, horses may earn large purses in their 2 and 3 year old seasons because they only race against a small crop of questionable quality horses in those seasons. They may never attain high speed ratings and win against mature horses from multiple racing crops, in 3 year old and up races for example.
Many people don’t understand speed ratings. Speed ratings came to prominence in the 1970’s and today there are many major services which utilize similar but slightly different methodologies to develop their ratings. They are imperfect, but they are a statistically effective method for predicting probabilities in racing. Speed ratings normalize variables like track speed, hardness, condition, competition, racing lanes, actual distance covered and even wind speed. That’s why there is such a market for speed rating services and they are now utilized so extensively. They are even used to determine the quality of races, such as which stakes races qualify as Black Type.
Though imperfect, as all predictive systems are in highly variable environments such as horse racing, speed ratings are more accurate than random methodology. Exceptions, personal observations or data anecdotes are simply irrelevant in statistical science. That’s why a Minnesota horse we bred named Sugar Business once won the Northern Lights Futurity, breaking a 27 year old race time record, and I thought he would earn a near 100 speed rating. The track was hard and fast at Canterbury that year, and particularly that day. He only earned an 88 speed rating and was never very competitive when he had to race against horses outside of his state and racing crop.
One other point of note in the chart relates to the breeders of these horses. Notice how only one breeder is listed twice. This is an indicator of just how difficult and variable breeding is in an industry where $100,000 sire stud fees only result in producing a stakes winner near 1 out of every 20 times. Even though these good breeders may always utilize good breeding methods, the ability to consistently produce top tier horses in a highly variable activity such as Thoroughbred breeding, is extraordinarily difficult.
With all of this said, this is my best research and best answer to the question of where the top Minnesota breds have come from recently. I hope this helps.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.