Sadly, my #1 and #2 overall choices have been eliminated :-( The round 4 voting was not as evenly distributed across the four remaining stallions as I anticipated so preference went to the horses that were very strong in one category leaving the ones who are strong all-around overshadowed. I will definitely be providing a "post mortem" blog about these results, but for now please take time to look over these wonderful stallions' impressive profiles.
Watch these race videos and you will see the kind of heart this horse has based on the way he finishes races. Even in the Woodward Stakes where he comes in 3rd, he never gives up...and he finished only about 1 length behind SUPERSTAR racehorse Rachel Alexandra. Watching videos of Bullsbay racing is what really secured his place in my top 3 or 4.
And if his racing career and conformation weren't enough, his performance as a sire only makes him that much stronger of an option. In 2016 he was #29 on the nationwide general list of stallions for third-crop, and in the mid-Atlantic region he's already at #20 in 2017.
Going even farther, of his 35 of his 57 cumulative registered foals have started in a race and 20 of those 35 have won races. Plus 3 of those have won Stakes races. That means that of his total foals he has 5.3% Stakes Winners, 35% winners, and 61.4% of them make it to the track. If you slice that by only horses who race, 8.6% of his foals who raced are Stakes Winners and 57.1% of his foals who raced are winners.
Additionally, and quite possibly the most impressive are the average earnings statistics. With $1,947,069 in earnings total for his progeny that is an average of $55,630 for each of his foals that raced. His Average Earnings Index beats the average at 1.60. How is this calculated? Let's assume the average money won when factoring in ALL horses who raced in 2016 was $20,000 per horse the index would be set at 1 = $20,000 and then foals by Bullsbay earned $30,000 on average his index would be $30,000/$20,000 or 1.5. Bullsbay's current AEI is 1.60.
When you look at that further and compare his AEI to the Comparable Index (CI) it adds even more value to him as a stallion. The best explanation of AEI to CI is on Bloodhorse.com and says, "The AEI-to-CI ratio indicates how well a stallion's progeny have performed on the racetrack (straight earnings) compared to how well those foals' half-siblings fared in the same time period. A high AEI-to-CI number means that the stallion's colts and fillies are outperforming their dams' other foals and is considered proof that the stallion improved his book of mares." You can read the rest of the article on Bloodhorse.com by clicking here. With the understanding of an AEI to CI ratio, you can see that Bullsbay IMPROVES his mares, and furthermore he even performs better than his sire Tiznow who has an AEI of 1.68 to a CI of 1.87.
And don't forget he's an A++ nicking with Freja...
Vertiformer is not as obvious of a choice as Bullsbay because his first foals are only yearlings this year so it's hard to assess his progeny the way you are able with Bullsbay. My decision to have Vertiformer as my top choice is based on different factors.
Physically having met him in person, he is an impressive horse that compliments Freja's conformation VERY well. He's a true 17 hands but not super "heavy" while still having good bone. His temperament is very laid back and gentle, and he just looks like he's ready to go jump around the Rolex course standing in his stall. He's also an Ohio stallion so a foal by him would be an Ohio Accredited foal which would open up additional purse money in races and eligibility to run in "closed" races.
But those aren't what I consider to be the most impressive parts of matching Vertiformer with Freja. To me, his physical appearance is definitely key, but this is a horse who started his career in France and finished it in the United States. He raced until he was 7, and his average winning distance was 9.25 furlongs.
He is definitely bred to be more of a distance/stamina horse, and I like that because if I intend to pursue Dressage, Eventing or Endurance as a second career for the foal, stamina will be more important to me than speed. He's only a B+ nicking with Freja, but keep in mind that nicking only compares each parent's sire lines. When you take more relatives into consideration using the Genetic Strength Value, he has a GSV of 76.91 (Freja's is only 56.01) and the resulting foal is predicted with a GSV of 57.59. This number is not the end-all-be-all as it can improve or decline over time based on both racing and breeding performance, but it is something that many racing handicappers use when determining horses in Maiden races (ones where none of the horses have yet won a race). Of the stallions in the top 4, the Vertiformer hypothetical foal is the only one that has a higher GSV than Freja while the GSV of the hypo foals of the other 3 stallions are actually lower than both Freja's and the respective stallion.
When you look at this pedigree chart for a Vertiformer / Lady Macjazz hypothetical foal there are several parts that jump out to me. I love the addition of Turn-To and Ribot through Dynaformer and on Vertiformer's dam side Rahy is #25 on the 2016 list of top Broodmare sires and is currently at #18 for 2017.
When you look underneath the pedigree portion of the chart there is another row of numbers referencing the "Conduit Mare Profile." These figures (unlike Dosage Index and nicking) take the female family into account. As I'm more interested in a distance horse than a speed horse, I like that these statistics predict a foal that is more inclined to stamina than speed. That is also the case for the Dosage Index as well actually.
So, although there isn't any direct progeny of Vertiformer for me to evaluate, he fits my bill as the best "all-around" choice for Freja for several reasons:
I still plan to go see Vertiformer in person one more time and since Birdrun is there I'll probably say hello to him as well, and I may even still make a trip to PA to meet Bullsbay in person, but no matter what this decision will be made by the end of the month.
By Kyle Rothfus
This blog is dedicated to providing insight about OTTB re-training, Thoroughbred pedigrees and general equine care. You can also track the progress of horses I have for sale through posts here.