Back in February 2006, I purchased a barren Broad Brush mare at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky mixed sale. I did some research, tried to select a good match for her, and sent in a mare nomination form. The next month, I brought her to Ashford Stud for a date with Honour and Glory (on SRO). They danced, my mare came back to the farm and gestated the requisite 340-odd days, and then we had a new colt. When I filled out the registration for The Jockey Club, I carefully filled in my name under the field for "Breeder."
Now it's May 2007. The Broad Brush mare goes back to Honour and Glory (who's now at Wintergreen Stallion Station) -- I chose to breed her back to the same stallion because I liked the cross and her suckling colt looks like a real winner. I transport my mare in for her cover, bring her back to her stall (where her little foal is frantically awaiting her return), and again wait the 11-plus months for a new foal to develop.
Fast-forward to April 2008. The mare has spent the last 15 nights in the foaling stall -- the same stall she used last year. Then -- finally! -- the foal arrives this morning, a nice-looking bay filly with rear pastern socks, a star and snip. My choice to send this mare back to Honour and Glory looks absolutely inspired. And thanks to a year's worth of loving care and smart feeding, I've helped to create this beautiful new girl. When it comes time to register the young lady, what name will proudly be inserted as breeder?
If you guessed "Scot," you're wrong!
Last evening (Saturday), I sold the mare. I'll still care for her for the next week or so before she and her little one head off to their new digs. But because the mare was sold before foaling, it will be the new owner's name that goes down as "breeder." Per The Jockey Club's rules (specifically, Section III of the American Stud Book Principal Rules and Requirements), a foal's breeder is the owner of its dam at the time of foaling. This mare's new owner became a breeder about 12 hours after his purchase! (As we'd agreed beforehand in negotiations of terms for the sale.)
It used to be a quirky rule that didn't affect much beyond pride and bragging rights, but nowadays the "breeder" can reap some serious benefits. Breeders' incentive plans in a bunch of states make the title more than just a name on the registration page. Being the named breeder can be rewarding. It can mean big money for the breeder, even if he sells the horse before its racing career. And Kentucky's new incentive program is lucrative. But the breeder of a foal is the current owner of its dam, not the person who planned the mating and saw it through to birth. So if this filly goes on to win mllions, I'll be just another fan watching from the stands -- devoid of a financial stake in her success.
It's an odd system, isn't it?