Voting Open for MarketWatch Broodmare of the Year

By Ian Tapp

Given that so much of our discussion and analysis goes to sires—leading sires, new sires, broodmare sires, undervalued sires—the March issue of MarketWatch is our opportunity to look more in depth at some of the top producers from the previous year.

It's not that mares are any less important than stallions, but given the fact that they can produce far fewer foals in their lifetime than can stallions, broodmares are more challenging to study statistically on an individual basis.

We typically group mares by their level of best race and best produce, but as a mare's accomplishments change, so does her value.

One extreme example is MarketWatch broodmare of the year nominee Life Happened, who was unraced, not pregnant, and her only foal to race was a one-time winner when she sold for $4,500 to Machmer Hall Thoroughbreds at the 2008 Keeneland November sale.

Earlier this year at Keeneland January, after three of her foals had won or placed in graded stakes and her ability to produce was known, Life Happened sold for $750,000 in foal to Harlan's Holiday. That sales price represented roughly a 15,000% return for Machmer Hall, who also sold three yearlings out of Life Happened for a combined $385,000.

In the downloadable report we profile the 10 MarketWatch broodmare of the year nominees, including Life Happened. To be a candidate, a broodmare had to have produced a graded stakes winner in 2013 plus at least one other graded stakes winner in her career. The 10 finalists include eight grade I producers.

Our writers this year include The Blood-Horse editorial staff members Eric Mitchell, Evan Hammonds, and Tom Hall, MarketWatch associate editor Nicole Sauer, and contributors Avalyn Hunter and Alan Porter.

The MarketWatch broodmare of the year is determined by popular vote. After reading the profiles, please cast your vote below for the broodmare you feel most deserves this distinction. Voting closes April 13.

Profiles this year include:

  • Ava Knowsthecode, by Tom Hall
  • Clear Mandate, by Avalyn Hunter
  • Enchanted Rock, by Ian Tapp
  • Hookedonthefeelin, by Tom Hall
  • Life Happened, by Evan Hammonds
  • Lyrical Prayer, by Nicole Sauer
  • Rehear, by Alan Porter
  • Rhumb Line, by Avalyn Hunter
  • Serena's Cat, by Eric Mitchell
  • Take Charge Lady, by Alan Porter

Download the free report today: MarketWatch Broodmare of the Year


Leave a Comment:

Mookie's Hero

Hi There

I thought Leslie's Lady would be on this list. Beholder was terrfic and she also had Into Mischief. And now one of ther daughters has produced a stakes winner. She's as good as the stallions in that her line is just that good.

Mookie's Hero

29 Mar 2014 6:47 PM

Mookie's Hero,

Leslie's Lady was considered, and she was nominated last year after Beholder's Eclipse award-winning 2-year-old season. She was not selected as a finalist because we favored mares who had either new graded stakes winners or new grade I winners in 2013. The only exception was Hookedonthefeelin, whose grade I winner Jimmy Creed earned his first graded win late in 2012 on Dec. 26. However, he followed that up with a win in the grade II Potrero Grande Stakes in April 2013.

31 Mar 2014 8:30 AM

Have to agree with Mookie's hero. Leslie's Lady looks better than any on the list. Actually, this group seems a bit weaker than past Broodmare Of Year "nominees"...The more that past record plays into this, the more difficult it becomes to be confident about any BOY list. For example, had Shameful's Roman Ruler gelding managed to win a black type race in 2013, Shameful would have vaulted to my #1 choice.

31 Mar 2014 10:33 PM
Ian Tapp


True, but that will happen anytime you confine an award to "of the year."

If we let Leslie's Lady in again, then we should also have Lisa Danielle again. Beholder repeated as champion; Wise Dan repeated as HOTY.

Another worthy mention is Masskana, who is not here because she's European-based, but Dank was her third G1 winner and fourth SW.

01 Apr 2014 2:43 PM


I think we're attempting to locate the broodmare who-as evidenced by the performance of her offspring in the given year-imparted the highest (of all) quality to her runners for that given year. Could be stated, perhaps, more artfully, but I think this should be the sole yardstick-because the award is for "Broodmare Of The YEAR". It is not a lifetime achievement award, because that's not its title. There's enough ambiguity even within my definition for it to be unwise to add to it by reflecting on past year's accomplishments. I realize that past and present KY Broodmare Of The Year candidates also didn't always adhere to "my rule", and I do admit that their long list of winners is, for the most part, a very distinguished group indeed. It is also a group likely superior to one gained through my method, but, as they say, the end doesn't alone justify the means.      

01 Apr 2014 7:47 PM
Brian Russell

What about Granny Franny?  A G1 winner and a 2YO Saratoga stakes winner in the same year.

02 Apr 2014 2:20 AM
Ian Tapp

Interesting, sceptre. I'd guess that broodmare of the year was intended to correspond with champion sire, which is, right or wrong, determined by progeny earnings.

To me (personal opinion), the broodmare title should go to a broodmare who had in the same year or previously produced a significant runner (preferably G1 or champion) and then further proved her ability as a producer in 2013 by having a new top runner of similar or greater merit.

Hypothetically let's say that in 2014 Better Than Honour produces a new listed SW and Lady Liberty (dam of Orb) produces the champion older mare.

I would pick Lady Liberty for broodmare of the year even though Better Than Honour's overall produce record is more impressive.

02 Apr 2014 1:41 PM


I like your interpretation.

What confuses this, all the more, is that for some years-ex. 1965- there are obvious standouts, by any method. In 1965 it was Pocahontas (owing to two top performers for that year-Tom Rolfe and Chieftain). But, as I recall, there was another highly worthy candidate that year-Searching (with her Affectionately and Priceless Gem).

02 Apr 2014 4:52 PM
Ian Tapp

Congrats to Take Charge Lady, who has won the MarketWatch broodmare of the year vote with a landslide 75%. Second place was Ava Knowsthecode with 7.9%. Thanks to all who voted.

17 Apr 2014 12:30 PM

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