Bold Over -- How Bold Ruler's Making a Comeback in the Age of All-Weather Tracks

A article yesterday afternoon about the Canadian Stallion Awards reveals that Bold Executive took the top spot, in large part due to his progeny's earnings on synthetic tracks.  Bold Executive, like fellow synthetics-leader A.P. Indy (SRO), is a Bold Ruler-line stallion -- and it's often theorized that this bloodline works particularly well on the new all-weather surfaces.

The last time we discussed successful all-weather sires, I came up with a list of the Top 7 synthetic sires based on their (then-) year-to-date 2008 progeny earnings. After reading yesterday's news about Bold Executive, I did a short study on overall/historic synthetic starts,  and thought I'd share a few new findings. 

First, though, here were my beginning criteria:  to be included in the study, the stallion must have at least 100 progeny starts on all-weather tracks with 40% or better "in the money" results.  I was a bit surprised to find that 100 sires (exactly) met these first requirements.  Interestingly, Bold Executive did not -- his 35.6% score is a reflection that although he's had a lot of success, he's also had a huge amount of opportunity (in Bold Executive's case, his 1,276 progeny synthetic starts are almost 40% more than any other stallion).

I narrowed the list further by removing any sire whose overall "in the money" percentage (on all track surfaces) was within 2.5% of his synthetic scores -- this effectively produced a list of sires that not only have above-average success on all-weather tracks, but whose progeny perform significantly better on synthetic surfaces than they do on all track types in general.  The list was now down to a more manageable 28 studs.  Here they are in alpha order:

  1. Accelerator
  2. Adcat
  3. Concerto (SRO)
  4. Decarchy (SRO)
  5. Dynaformer (SRO)
  6. Event of the Year (SRO)
  7. Free House
  8. Full Mandate (SRO)
  9. Gentlemen (ARG) (SRO)
  10. Greenwood Lake
  11. Hold for Gold
  12. King Cugat (SRO)
  13. Kissin Kris
  14. Montbrook (SRO)
  15. Mr. Greeley (SRO)
  16. Pleasant Tap (SRO)
  17. Poteen
  18. Put It Back (SRO)
  19. Red Bullet (SRO)
  20. Royal Anthem
  21. Sky Mesa (SRO)
  22. Slew City Slew (SRO)
  23. Snow Ridge (SRO)
  24. Straight Man (SRO)
  25. Tiznow (SRO)
  26. Van Nistelrooy (SRO)
  27. Wild Wonder
  28. Yankee Gentleman (SRO)

I checked each pedigree for lines of Bold Ruler, and decided to fall back one generation to his sire, Nasrullah.  Of the 28 stallions, only two (Greenwood Lake and Wild Wonder) were completely missing lines of Nasrullah.  An amazing 18 of 28 have at least one cross of Bold Ruler, and 14 have instances of the Nasrullah son Nashua.  Seven of these outstanding synthetic sires  -- 25% -- have crosses of both Nashua and Bold Ruler, and two additional horses (Pleasant Tap and Adcat) are inbred to Nasrullah through other lines.

Seven of the sires on this list -- again, 25% -- descend from the direct Nasrullah sire line, five of them through Seattle Slew.  Seven come from Northern Dancer, four from Mr. Prospector, three from Roberto, and two from Relaunch.  (I'd submit that Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector are actually slightly underrepresented, based on their sire-line influence on the Thoroughbred breed as a whole.)  Roberto, interestingly, claims three spots on the list (Dynaformer, Hold for Gold, and Kissin Kris), each one with crosses of Nashua but not of Bold Ruler.  In both of Relaunch's appearances (Put It Back and Tiznow), it's interesting to note that the tail-damsire line descends from Bold Ruler.

The overall leader by percentage of synthetic WINS is Put It Back (23.2%), and he also leads by ratio of in-the-money finishes (52.1%).

Accelerator (+10.3%) and Gentlemen (+10.0%) lead the list in how much better their progeny do on synthetic surfaces compared to all tracks.

While Red Bullet ($12,229) leads the group in average earnings per progeny start on synthetic tracks, it's of interest that the only two other stallions to break the five-digit average earnings barrier are both of the Relaunch-line studs:  Put It Back ($11,384) and Tiznow ($11,215).

Seeing that Nasrullah appears in the pedigrees of 26 of 28 stallions on this list, and knowing that his overall pedigree influence touches far less than 93% of top sires in general, I'd conclude that his bloodlines have proved to be a positive for synthetic-track runners.  Bold Ruler probably deserves the hype he's received as an all-weather influence -- and it seems clear that Nashua should join him in that evaluation.

While all that's true... I'm thinking I might start to look more closely at Relaunch-line studs out of Bold Ruler-line mares.  Bright Launch (SRO), whose dam is not only from Bold Ruler's Raja Baba line but also is inbred to Nasrullah, seems a good bet.  Same goes for Officer (SRO), who has a 4 X 5 inbreeding to Seattle Slew's sire, the Bold Ruler son Bold Reasoning.  Neither has yet proved to be a standout sire of all-weather runners, but if the pattern (as seen in Tiznow and Put It Back) is to be believed, they merit some further consideration.  Finally, Valid Expectations (SRO) is close to this pattern -- he's In Reality on top and Nasrullah on bottom, but not through Relaunch or Bold Ruler.  He hasn't had much opportunity on synthetics, but we'll watch with anticipation!

Follow-up: Additional details of this study are discussed in The Flip Side of the Bold Ruler / Synthetic Tracks Study.

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