The Five-Cross Files

Female families… patterns of inbreeding… sire line nicks… what really influences the strength of a Thoroughbred pedigree? How do conformation and class factor in? The Five-Cross Files explores bloodlines old and new, analyzes Thoroughbred pedigrees, tests breeding tools, and simplifies the science (and art) of successful Thoroughbred breeding.

Readers are Breeders

More than half of the readers of this blog are breeders. See the results of last week's poll on horse ownership, and take the new poll about racing 2-year-olds.... Read More

FYI: Free Download for Keeneland April

Last week, I talked about a few of my favorite pedigrees in the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training. For anyone interested in that sale (or just fascinated by sire lists and anything data-related), The Blood-Horse is offering a free download of the Data Digest for this sale. ... Read More

Hay You Guys

It's been a rough year for a lot of horse owners, with hay prices reaching record levels -- and that's if you can find any available. In addition to bemoaning the situation, I'm trying to figure out a way to avoid the same problem next year.... Read More

8 Tips for a Good Broodmare Barn

The broodmare stall and barn make a big difference to the comfort and safety of your mare and newborn foal. Here are 8 tips to keep in mind when designing or renovating your facilities.... Read More

Himyar's Other Line

The fact that Himyar has not one but two quality sire lines in America today is quite a feat. For the most part, the Eclipse tail-male bloodline split after his great-grandson Whalebone, and that stallion's son Sir Hercules is responsible for most of the sire lines today -- including Teddy and Swynford and all the Phalaris lines (Nasrullah, Bold Ruler, Northern Dancer, Raise a Native, Turn-to, and others). Himyar descended from another Whalebone son, Camel, who is distinguished by being the great-great grandson of Eclipse (1764) and the great grandsire of Eclipse (1855) -- just to throw some fun confusion into the mix. ... Read More

State of the Market: Mixed Bag

In a recent poll, readers responded to the question “Do you anticipate fewer mares bred in 2008 due to the market downturn?” By a small majority, the answer was “No.” Read the full poll results, and take part in this week's poll on horse ownership.... Read More

Rare Sire Lines: Domino

Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector, and a select few other sires have dominated American pedigrees to the point that other sire lines are in danger of being lost forever. The future of the Domino sire line sees hope in sons of Broad Brush; the author also looks at another, less-known Domino-line sire as a potential match for one of his mares.... Read More

Free Preview: Data Digest

The Blood-Horse Auctions Data Digest comes out about a week before major sales and gives buyers useful information about the horses being sold. It includes lists of sires represented in the sale, plus broodmare sires, leading consignors, breeders, and buyers, and other important statistical charts. For 2YOIT sales, there's also a chart of the official work times for each hip, and a bonus chart of TrueNicks "A++" and "A+" rated hips.... Read More

2-Year-Olds, Pulpit, and Pedigrees

Pulpit and his sons are well-represented at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's select sale of 2-year-olds in training next week. Some of their progeny's dams have interesting stories of their own.... Read More

Poll Update: Catalog Choices.

Let's follow up on a recent poll that asked how you, the readers, look at a page in the sales catalog. Most catalog pages are written to make the horse look good, with emphasis on the sire line and on black type winners in the female family. But those aren't necessarily what catches our eye when we crack open the catalog...... Read More

Too Much Winter

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike winter. I grew up in the Northeast and Lexington is mild in comparison. And the horses like the cold much better than the sweaty mess of July or August in the Bluegrass. But this time of year brings other annoyances and frustrations, as well. My horses tell me when I've gone a little shy on the hay or beet pulp. They do so by chewing... everything. It's bad enough when they gnaw on the fence boards, but it's dire when they whittle the posts down to toothpicks or when they go after the lap boards on the barn. Of course, hay isn't cheap -- this year, it's not even easy to find -- and there's only so much beet pulp a horse is going to want to eat. ... Read More

Bumping Up Against Deadline

Kudos to The Jockey Club for a site that is user-friendly and well-planned. I've used Interactive Registration the last few years, and it just keeps improving. The main page includes a useful overview of the registration process, and helpful information (such as tips on photographing the foals and describing body markings and colors). But the experience just kept improving. The GUI for denoting face and body markings was not clunky like might be expected; instead, it was a nice graphic with easy-to-use controls. The photo upload was a snap. The records were set up to require the least amount of typing necessary (one click makes the "owner" information the same as "breeder," for example, instead of rekeying names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers). And each step along the way, I saw a note letting me know what step I was working on and how many steps remained. When I was finished, I received a nice report summarizing the information I'd provided, to keep in my records.... Read More

Revelations of the Catalog Page, part I

It's a couple of weeks before your favorite sale, and the catalog has just arrived in your mailbox. You sit down to take a first look through the book, flipping open to the first hip. Quick: What jumps out? Where did your eyes immediately focus? For most of us, the answer reveals a lot about our real passions in the Thoroughbred industry. ... Read More

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