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In the Breeding Shed

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It's a bit of a slow week in the racing world following the whirlwind of stakes races around the country last weekend.  After the win by Afleet Express in the Travers I began to go through the current sire lists as I was curious as to how the progeny of Afleet Alex had been performing as we move into the latter half of 2010. As I continued to dig I became more curious as to how various sires have performed not just in regards to total earnings, but as to the overall value they provide.

The Thoroughbred Times has an excellent sire list page (which can be found here) where I went and sorted the top 100 General and Freshmen sires.  (An Excel file of the complete list can be found here: Sire Stats 9.1.10).  The General and Freshmen sire lists were initially sorted and ranked by total earnings.  Of course, just looking at total earnings can be a bit deceptive since one or two big wins during the year can tip the scales in a sire's direction.  So I re-sorted the data and added four different statistics: Winning Percentage, Earnings per Start, Earnings per Win, and a Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio.

The Earnings to Stud Fee ratio was calculated by first multiplying the stud fee (if available) by the total starters (for the General list) or total 2 year olds (for the Freshmen list) to come up with a Total Fee.  I divided Progeny Earnings by the Total Fee in order to come up with the final ratio.  An example of this ratio using Afleet Alex:

Afleet Alex has a $15,000 stud fee and 112 starters in 2010, for a total stud fee for all starters of $1.68 million.  Alex's progeny, lead by Travers winner Afleet Express, have won $3,877,708 for a Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio of 2.31.  While the ratio will skew toward low and high stud fee horses on the extreme ends I think it's a quick, non-scientific way to identify sires that have offered a lot of value based on their stud fee*.

(A better way to analyze this would be to create an earnings-to-purchase price ratio but that would require data that is much more difficult to pull together, so I'll just use Earning/Stud Fee as a simple analytical tool.  The ratio is a bit clunky for General sires due to the fact that "starters" can include multiple runners during the year, inflating the total fee number.  It works a bit better for the Freshmen sires due to the fact that the data provides the total number of two year olds in 2010 sired by each horse.)

General Sires

After eight months of racing in 2010, Giant's Causeway once again sits atop the sire lists for earnings (8,010,418), followed by Fusaichi Pegasus, Malibu Moon, Maria's Mon, and Distorted Humor.  Here is the.  Using only the Top 100 sires by earnings, I came up with a Top 5 by Winning Percentage, Earnings per Start, Earnings per Win, and Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio.

Winning Percentage - Highest
1- City Zip (57.8%)
2-Pollard's Vision (56.9%)
3-Benchmark (56.8%)
4-Five Star Day (55.5%)
5-Graeme Hall (55.4%)

Winning Percentage - Lowest
1-Thunder Gulch (31.0%)
2-Mr. Greeley (31.2%)
3-Fusaichi Pegasus (32.3%)
4-Elusive Quality (32.7%)
5-Giant's Causeway (34.6%)

Earnings per Start - Highest
1-Mineshaft ($41,995)
2-Unbridled's Song ($37,162)
3-Afleet Alex ($34,622)
4-Tapit ($31,651)
5-Medaglia d'Oro ($31,267)

Earnings per Start - Lowest
1-Thunder Gulch ($8,560)
2-Pure Prize ($9,062)
3-Touch Gold ($11,035)
4-Mr. Greeley ($11,266)
5-Bernstein ($11,571)

Earnings per Win - Highest
1-El Prado (IRE) ($89,004)
2-Kingmambo ($84,806)
3-Unbridled's Song ($83,364)
4-Medaglia d'Oro ($80.324
5-Mineshaft ($78,296)

Earnings per Win - Lowest
1-Benchmark ($23,348)
2-Pure Prize ($24,631)
3-Chapel Royal ($25,795)
4-Devil His Due ($26,459)
5-Touch Gold ($26,757)

Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio - Highest
1-Lion Hearted (5.01)
2-Graeme Hall (4.51)
3-Devil His Due (4.03)
4-Closing Argument (3.83)
5-Stormin Fever (3.51)

Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio - Lowest
1-Street Cry (IRE) (0.15)
2-A.P. Indy (0.18)
3-Dynaformeer (0.18)
4-Mr. Greeley (0.23)
5-Giant's Causeway (0.25)

The sires with the lowest Earnings to Fee Ratio aren't really surprising since they all have stud fees in excess of $100,000, so we would expect the ratio to be lower, just by pure chance.  On the other hand, the horses with high earnings to fee ratios have stud fees in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

There seems to be a lot of value in a sire like City Zip.  He has a modest stud fee of $10,000, over 57% of his starters win, he's 18th in total earnings, and he's 16th with a Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio of 2.72.  City Zip's top earner has been Workin For Hops.

Of the sires with a stud fee of $100,000 or more, the one with the highest Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio is Unbridled's Song at 0.37.  His winning percentage is quite a solid (44.6%).

One sire that has made a lot of headlines lately is Candy Ride (ARG), a son of Ride the Bulls that has two runners that are tearing up stakes races in Southern California - Sidney's Candy and Twirling Candy.  Candy Ride has a current stud fee of $25,000 and checks in with a nice Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio of 1.22 and a robust 55.2 winning percentage for all starters.

Freshmen Sires

Freshman sires are sires whose first crop of foals are currently racing as two-year olds.  The top five freshmen sires in the Top 100 ranked by stud fee are Bernardini ($60,000), First Samurai ($30,000), Bluegrass Cat and Henny Hughes ($25,000), and Artie Schiller ($15,000).

All categories are restricted to sires that have had at least 10 starters in 2010.

Winning Percentage - Highest
1-Mass Media (46.2%)
2-Pomeroy (38.5%)
3-Bluegrass Cat (37.1%)
4-Da Stoops (36.4%)
5-Forest Grove (33.3%)

Winning Percentage - Lowest
1-Niigon (0%)
2-Unbridled Energy (10.0%)
3-Artie Schiller (13.3%)
4-Rockport Harbor (15.4%)
5-Suave (15.8%)

Earnings per Start - Highest
1-Old Forester ($27,824)
2-Mass Media ($14,953)
3-Bellamy Road ($14,471)
4-Congrats ($14,040)
5-First Samurai ($13,732)

Earnings per Start - Lowest
1-Niigon ($2,009)
2-Unbridled Energy ($4,120)
3-Shaniko ($4,838)
4-Henny Hughes ($4,871)
5-Flower Alley ($5,087)

Earnings per Win - Highest
1-Old Forester ($90,429)
2-Philanthropist ($73,302)
3-First Samurai ($58,363)
4-Borrego ($58,210)
5-Bellamy Road  ($52,095)

Earnings Per Win - Lowest
1-Shaniko ($14,514)
2-Good Reward ($17,199)
3-Bandini ($19,445)
4-Da Stoops ($23,555)
5-Pomeroy ($23,800)

Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio - Highest
1-Mass Media (2.37)
2-Philanthropist (1.52)
3-Old Forester (1.40)
4-The Daddy (1.24)
5-Congrats (1.08)

Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio - Lowest
1-Bernardini (0.03)
2-Artie Schiller (0.06)
3-Henny Hughes (0.06)
4-Flower Alley (0.07)
5-Niigon (0.08)

For as high of a stud fee he has, Bluegrass Cat is doing quite well in the breeding shed.  His at the top of the list in terms of winning percentage and his Earnings to Stud Fee Ratio is much better than some of the other high priced sires.

One of the better values of the Freshmen sires is Mass Media, a son of Touch Gold that has sired 13 winners from 41 starters (46.2%), banked over $194,000, and all for the bargain basement stud fee of $2,000.