Broodmarathon -- Better Than Honour: Broodmare at Risk?

Much has been said about the prospects for 2007 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, who will be sold at this year's Fasig-Tipton November sale.  (News story, Hammer Time blog post)

What I haven't heard too much about, though, is the mare's reproductive soundness. 

Hip #188 (catalog page, pedigree), a 12-year-old mare named BETTER THAN HONOUR, sells Sun., Nov. 2, 2008  at the Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale

  • Thoroughbred female family:  8-f
  • Race record:  2 wins, 4 places, 2 shows from 8 starts for earnings of $250,920. Won Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) and twice grade I-placed.
  • Produce record: dam of 7 foals, six of racing age, six runners, five winners including two grade I classic winners and one grade II winner.
  • Sale history:  $750,000 Keeneland July yearling (1997); $2 million Keeneland November broodmare (2004).
  • Covering sire: Not in foal

If you're thinking, this guy is nuts!, bear with me just a moment.  Sure, Better Than Honour has produced not one but two winners of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).  And an additional grade II winner on top of that (in fact, Casino Drive was my choice for this year's Belmont!).  She deserves that Broodmare of the Year title.

But after producing seven foals in a row -- from 2001 through 2007 -- Better Than Honour has now had one aborted foal and one barren season.  On top of that, she was bred more than once in both 2007 and 2008, bringing up the question of reproductive soundness.  (2007 breedings to Storm Cat (SRO) and A.P. Indy (SRO), and 2008 matings to A.P. Indy and Distorted Humor (SRO).)

Don't get me wrong -- after seven foals, this mare deserves some time off.  And two "off" seasons are probably just an unfortunate coincidence.

But it does raise an eyebrow when it happens two years in a row.  And you know that she's going to be valued at multiple, multiple millions of dollars in the sales ring, so this topic will be on the minds of any prospective bidders -- and their insurance companies.  I asked back in August who you thought might purchase this classy mare, and how much she might fetch.  Now, I'd like to know:  will two years of reproductive problems negatively affect Better Than Honour's value in the market?  Would you take a chance on her?


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