With our 2 year old AJ's Angel debuting tonight, and questions coming in about buying yearlings, I thought I would combine both items to answer some questions.
New owners often have issues understanding sales catalogs. While I offer quite a bit of advice related to this on this website, the TAIL LINE of the pedigree is of particular importance in my view because it offers an advantage many buyers seem to ignore.
Many sires are similar. Good breeders will typically only breed to sires that achieved high performance on the racetrack, and the differences between those performances are actually "minor" in the grand scheme of things. However, the dam side of the pedigree always seems to show "major" degrees of variation. In other words, people often breed mares with minor accomplishments on the racetrack, and while the resultant foals occasionally yield benefits (possibility), they generally do not (probability).
So what does this have to do with buying behavior? Many buyers are entranced by the sires. Some nearly ignore the bottom of the pedigree, or the dams. Of course, this is a ridiculous behavior in that the dams influence on the foal is 50%. Nevertheless, the romanticized behavior of bragging about the sire of a foal allows the other smart buyers to have an advantage at auctions IF they consider the tail line important.
Now for a specific example. The following pedigree is the pedigree of our 2 year old running his first race tonight. I really don't know if he will win or even run well because both the physical and mental racing condition of this baby has yet to be witnessed. It's always a crap shoot when your babies first hit the track, and variation is extreme in racing. Nevertheless, this well bred yearling was in last year's Minnesota sale......and never got a bid. As a result, we kept him, are now running him, and I think he'll be OK long term.
Now look at the tail side of his pedigree. You'll see that both his first dam and second dam were black type winners. More importantly, both of those black type winning dams had foals that were also black type winners. One was even bred exactly like AJ's Angel.
How rare is all of this dam pedigree stuff? Extraordinarily rare! In fact, out of the 66 consigned yearlings in this year's Minnesota sale catalog, no consigned yearling has the same tail line qualifications I mentioned in the prior paragraph! One of the 66 HIPs does have black type 1st and 2nd dam winners that have also produced black type foals. Just one!
Of course, nicking has some bearing on foal success probabilities, and decent conformation is required to even consider bidding on a yearling in my estimation. Nevertheless, probabilities for taking advantage of an auction behaviors frequently involve discovering the often ignored 50% pedigree value the tail line dictates. That's also why you see such strong mares consistently utilized by the better breeding farms.
I hope this helps give a few of my new buyer friends some edge in the upcoming auction.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.