Reports of Mares Bred 2015: Trends in Using Sires and Their Lines in North America

A few weeks ago the American Jockey Club published the Reports of Mares Bred 2015 – data from this year’s breeding season. Same as last year and the year before we will look upon them to define trends in the use of lines and their use in North American breeding. This we will be able to do on the basis of comparison with previous years.

Uncle Mo covered 221 mares. Photo Ashford Stud

As in the past years (see our column from 2013 and 2014) this year it is the first, not quite complete data. By assessment and previous experience of the Jockey Club, data on around 2,000 to 3,000 mares will be added but this should have no bearing on our comparison with past years. According to the data provided, 34,627 mares were covered in North America (34,540 at this time last year) who were partnered by 1,449 stallions (1,547 last year). As can be seen, the number of active sires continues in its decrease which is a long term and a global trend. The number of mares covered, on the contrary, slightly grew and continues in its renaissance after the crisis years.

Stallions who covered 100 + mares in North America this year

stallion sire sireline mares
Uncle Mo Indian Charlie Caro 221
Scat Daddy Johannesburg Storm Cat 217
Into Mischief Harlan's Holiday Storm Cat 210
Shanghai Bobby Harlan's Holiday Storm Cat 202
Temple City Dynaformer Roberto 199
Munnings Speightstown Mr Prospector 196
Declaration of War War Front Danzig 192
Kitten's Joy El Prado Sadler's Wells 187
Verrazano More Than Ready Halo 185
Flat Out Flatter Seattle Slew 183
Goldencents Into Mischief Storm Cat 179
Tizway Tiznow In Reality 178
Violence Medaglia d'Oro Sadler's Wells 177
Bodemeister Empire Maker Mr Prospector 176
Honorable Dillon Tapit Seattle Slew 170
Line of David Lion Heart Storm Cat 166
Super Saver Maria's Mon Raise a Native 165
Curlin Smart Strike Mr Prospector 162
Paynter Awesome Again Vice Regent 158
Flashback Tapit Seattle Slew 157
Malibu Moon A.P. Indy Seattle Slew 157
Gio Ponti Tale of the Cat Storm Cat 156
Hard Spun Danzig Danzig 155
Candy Ride (ARG) Ride The Rails Mr Prospector 154
Twirling Candy Candy Ride Mr Prospector 154
Shackleford Forestry Storm Cat 153
Quality Road Elusive Quality Mr Prospector 152
Take Charge Indy A.P. Indy Seattle Slew 151
The Factor War Front Danzig 151
Majesticperfection Harlan's Holiday Storm Cat 149
Cairo Prince Pioneerof the Nile Mr Prospector 148
Fed Biz Giant's Causeway Storm Cat 147
Jimmy Creed Distorted Humor Mr Prospector 147
Medaglia d'Oro El Prado Sadler's Wells 146
Noble Mission (GB) Galileo Sadler's Wells 146
Revolutionary War Pass Blushing Groom 146
More Than Ready Southern Halo Halo 145
Union Rags Dixie Union Dixieland Band 145
Will Take Charge Unbridled's Song Mr Prospector 144
Tapizar Tapit Seattle Slew 143
Liaison Indian Charlie Caro 141
Big Brown Boundary Danzig 138
Street Sense Street Cry Mr Prospector 138
Animal Kingdom Leroidesanimaux Blushing Groom 137
Lemon Drop Kid Kingmambo Mr Prospector 137
Pioneerof the Nile Empire Maker Mr Prospector 137
Uncaptured Lion Heart Storm Cat 137
Sidney's Candy Candy Ride Mr Prospector 136
Oxbow Awesome Again Vice Regent 134
Tapit Pulpit Seattle Slew 134
Speightstown Gone West Mr Prospector 132
Afleet Alex Northern Afleet Mr Prospector 130
Archarcharch Arch Roberto 130
Magician (IRE) Galileo Sadler's Wells 130
Warrior's Reward Medaglia d'Oro Sadler's Wells 130
Adios Charlie Indian Charlie Caro 128
Discreet Cat Forestry Storm Cat 128
Paddy O'Prado El Prado Sadler's Wells 128
Power Broker Pulpit Seattle Slew 128
Exchange Rate Danzig Danzig 127
Itsmyluckyday Lawyer Ron Danzig 127
Sky Mesa Pulpit Seattle Slew 127
Bernardini A.P. Indy Seattle Slew 126
Tiznow Cee's Tizzy In Reality 126
Ghostzapper Awesome Again Vice Regent 125
Graydar Unbridled's Song Mr Prospector 125
Champ Pegasus Fusaichi Pegasus Mr Prospector 124
Cross Traffic Unbridled's Song Mr Prospector 123
Gemologist Tiznow In Reality 123
Ice Box Pulpit Seattle Slew 123
Overanalyze Dixie Union Dixieland Band 123
To Honor and Serve Bernardini Seattle Slew 123
Data Link War Front Danzig 122
Street Boss Street Cry Mr Prospector 122
English Channel Smart Strike Mr Prospector 121
Blame Arch Roberto 119
He's Had Enough Tapit Seattle Slew 119
Stay Thirsty Bernardini Seattle Slew 119
Trappe Shot Tapit Seattle Slew 119
Distorted Humor Forty Niner Mr Prospector 118
Orb Malibu Moon Seattle Slew 117
Yes It's True Is It True Bold Ruler 117
Midshipman Unbridled's Song Mr Prospector 116
Central Banker Speightstown Mr Prospector 115
Lookin At Lucky Smart Strike Mr Prospector 115
Can the Man Into Mischief Storm Cat 114
Brethren Distorted Humor Mr Prospector 113
Kantharos Lion Heart Storm Cat 112
Soldat War Front Danzig 112
Strong Mandate Tiznow In Reality 110
El Padrino Pulpit Seattle Slew 109
War Front Danzig Danzig 109
Point of Entry Dynaformer Roberto 107
City Zip Carson City Mr Prospector 106
Congrats A.P. Indy Seattle Slew 106
Midnight Lute Real Quiet Mr Prospector 106
Courageous Cat Storm Cat Storm Cat 105
Awesome Patriot Awesome Again Vice Regent 104
Creative Cause Giant's Causeway Storm Cat 103
Giant's Causeway Storm Cat Storm Cat 103
Treasure Beach (GB) Galileo Sadler's Wells 103
Jump Start A.P. Indy Seattle Slew 102
Bellamy Road Concerto Danzig 101
Drosselmeyer Distorted Humor Mr Prospector 100
Handsome Mike Scat Daddy Storm Cat 100

The number of active sires is closely related to the number of stallions who covered 100+ mares. While there were 97 of them last year, this year it was 105. Four stallions exceeded the milestone of 200 mares while last year it was just three (Kitten’s Joy, Into Mischief and Scat Daddy) and in 2013 just one (Into Mischief). This also contributed to a growth, over 15 %, of a total number of mares who were covered by stallions with 100+ partners.

Let us look now at paternal lines that play dominant role in North American breeding today. Same as in the last years, most mares were sent to sires from the Northern Dancer line. This does not come as a surprise, the Northern Dancer line dominates the thoroughbred world and its founder was foaled nine years before Mr Prospector, the founder of the line that can be seen as the closest rival. The Northern Dancer line, however, is quite a vague term these days and, therefore, what is more interesting than the development of the whole line is the development of individual branches, founded by Northern Dancer’s sons or, in one case, his grandson. Here we can see two quite strong trends. The first one is the return to glory of the brand founded by Danzig. Danzig’s line enjoys exceptional success globally but his two most successful sons – Danehill and Green Desert – are virtually without representation in North American breeding. A new successful son of Danzig, however, appeared on the scene - War Front. He covered 109 mares this year and his sons, led by Declaration of War with 192 mares, more nearly 600 mares. It is thanks to them that the stallions of the Danzig line jointly covered a total of 1,991 mares while last year it was just 1,446 mares.

The importance of the Sadler’s Wells line is growing too. In North America, this line is represented mainly by sons and grand sons of El Prado, namely Kitten’s Joy and Medaglia d’Oro who are now rivalled by sons of Galileo. There were six of them at stud in North America and half of them (Noble Mission, Magician and Treasure Beach) covered over 100 mares and they had a total of 553 mares. The number of mares sent to the Storm Cat line grew too, albeit not significantly. They received 5,649 mares this year, 72 more than last year. The excellent Scat Daddy and popular Harlan’s Holiday's sons Into Mischief, Shanghai Bobby and Majesticperfection bent the trend – in 2013 to 2014 the number of mares covered by stallions of this line dropped from 5,969 to 5,577.

The most frequently sought paternal lines by the number of mares covered

Sireline Stallions Mares covered
Northern Dancer 476 12147
  of which: Storm Cat 228 5649
  Sadler's Wells 46 1993
  Danzig 64 1991
  Vice Regent 63 1514
  Dixieland Band 29 552
  Nureyev 21 272
  Nijinsky 8 61
Mr Prospector 449 10417
Bold Ruler 209 5959
  of which: A.P. Indy 158 5620
In Reality 47 1236
Caro 30 1013
Roberto 20 777
Halo 32 739
Blushing Groom 33 629
Raise a Native (excluding Mr Prospector) 28 534
Rough'n Tumble 10 221
Buckpasser 14 209
Damascus 23 191
Ribot 18 167
Ack Ack 9 129
Nearctic (excluding Northern Dancer) 16 95

A year ago I said that Mr Prospector, or rather the stallions of his line, would gradually beat the Northern Dancer line in North America. Although the arrival of American Pharoah at Ashford Stud and the growing prestige of his sire Pioneerof the Nile can change many things, the margin of the Northern Dancer line against the line of Mr Prospector increased this year and stallions of the Mr Prospector line covered 10,417 mares this year, 296 less than last year.

Bold Ruler's line is the third strongest in America but it should rather be called the A.P. Indy line. Bold Ruler played a major role in American racing in the 1970s and 1980s, then was overcome by the growing lines of Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector. Its influence is returning through Seattle Slew’s son A. P. Indy and it is growing year after year. Two years ago the stallions heading in the paternal line covered a total of 4,757 mares in North America, this year it was 5,620 which represent over than 16 per cent of all mares covered. This has been significantly contributed to by sons of the most valuable stallion of the line, Tapit. Although we lack information on Tapit’s performance as the sire of sires, his sons, mostly debuting this year, covered a total of 1,093 mares.

Stallions with the highest number of active sons – stallions in North American studs this year

Stallion Sire 1 2 3
Storm Cat Storm Bird 69 1228 2
A.P. Indy Seattle Slew 51 1652 5
Unbridled's Song Unbridled 44 1442 4
Giant's Causeway Storm Cat 32 899 2
Distorted Humor Forty Niner 27 907 3
Pulpit A.P. Indy 25 1160 5
Gone West Mr Prospector 24 465 1
Danzig Northern Dancer 19 611 3
Tapit Pulpit 17 1093 5
El Prado Sadler's Wells 16 674 3
Elusive Quality Gone West 16 408 1
Forestry Storm Cat 16 470 1
Seeking The Gold Mr Prospector 16 173 0
Awesome Again Deputy Minister 14 749 4
Forest Wildcat Storm Cat 14 213 0
Indian Charlie In Excess 14 714 3
Smart Strike Mr Prospector 14 635 3
Street Cry Machiavellian 14 625 2
Maria's Mon Wavering Monarch 13 330 1
Tiznow Cee's Tizzy 13 710 3

Legend:
1 ... number of sons in stud
2 ... number of mares covered
3 ... number of sons who covered 100 and more mares

Stallions of the three lines mentioned above – Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector and A.P. Indy – covered 81.4 % of all mares this year. The share is still growing - a year ago it was 80.4 % and in 2013 it was 79 %. The growth is naturally on the expense of others so besides the growing concentration of mares with the most demanded stallions the spectrum of lines from which the stallions come is getting narrower, as is the influence of other lines. But this is not the case completely. Thanks to Uncle Mo, the most demanded sire of last season, and other sons of Indian Charlie, the number of mares with stallions of the line of Caro grew, as did the number of mares with the stallions of Blushing Groom's line and the lines of Roberto, Halo, Rough ‘n Tumble and Raise a Native, by which I mean the part except Mr Prospector. Despite narrowing base the breeding in North America remains the most varied among the leading thoroughbred countries.

Miloslav Vlček

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