Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Breed the Perfect Race Horse

I just love the story of Dumb Ass Partners, the owners of California Chrome. Isn't it wonderful to see the "little guy" win especially in the elite world of horses, especially race horses.  They bought a filly for $8,000, Love the Chase, who won only two races but was well-bred.  These guys aren't as "dumb" as the press makes them out to be. 

 This excerpt is from a great article in the New York Times:
Martin (one of the co-owners of California Chrome) immersed himself in the puzzle of pedigree and thought long and hard about how he was going to succeed in the breeding business. He bought into the theory that a good horse could come from anywhere. He chose the stallion Lucky Pulpit, who stood for a bargain basement $2,000, which seemed fair for a runner who had won only three of his 22 starts.
Martin understood, however, that the female side of the family can be far more important to passing on the traits of a runner. In Love the Chase, he and Coburn had a bloodline rich in stamina and class. California Chrome descends from the mare Betty Derr, whose line includes another California-bred horse, Swaps, the 1955 Derby winner, as well as Iron Liege, the ’57 Derby champ.
“It is a line also dotted with some of the most respected human names in the breeding business as well, such as Louis B. Mayer, Warner L. Jones, Will Farish and Raymond Guest,” said Sid Fernando, a pedigree consultant. “These breeders utilized some of the greatest staying sires in this country to breed these mares.”

You can read the entire article here.

This reminds me of the story of Monarchos, a gray horse who won the Kentucky Derby in 2001.  Monarchos also had the second fastest time in the Derby behind Secretariat. 

 He was bred by a former newspaper editor who admits he knows nothing about breeding racehorses. He wrote a book about it, it's a great read and I recommend it to anyone who likes horse racing:

I am pulling for the chestnut colt on Saturday like the rest of the world.  No need to "dumb down" the Triple Crown and make it easier (it hasn't worked for our educational system now has it?) because it's tough to achieve and only champions should have a trophy at the end of day!

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