The Flip Side of the Bold Ruler / Synthetic Tracks Study

Valid conclusions aren't possible unless research methods are meaningful. 

The other day, I discussed Bold Ruler bloodlines in hot synthetic sires.  It was clear that Bold Ruler and his fellow Nasrullah sire Nashua were present in a disproportionately high percentage of top all-weather sires.

The question is, are Nasrullah bloodlines also present in sires whose progeny are faring poorly on synthetics?

I started out with the same group of stallions (those with 100 or more progeny starts on all-weather track surfaces).  For the main study, I had chosen sires with 40% or better in-the-money figures; this time, I looked at sires whose progeny finished in the money less than 30% of the time on synthetic tracks, and came up with 62 stallions. 

When I was looking for sires that outperformed on synthetics, I wanted their in-the-money percentage to be at least 2.5% higher on all-weather tracks than on all other tracks; for stallions that seem to underperform on synthetics, the differential was more evident.  In fact, 61 out of the 62 stallions on my list had at least a 2.5% underperformance difference. 

I chose stallions whose progeny performance on synthetics was at least 12.5% worse (based on in-the-money ratios) than their same performance on all tracks.  The list came to 14 stallions.  Here they are in alpha order:

    • Alydeed
    • Deputy Minister
    • Ide
    • Memo (CHI)
    • Mercer Mill
    • Mt. Livermore
    • Olympio
    • Quiet American
    • Theatrical (IRE)
    • Two Punch
    • Wagon Limit
    • War Deputy
    • Whywhywhy
    • Yonaguska

Bold Ruler appeared in 18 of 28 (64.3%) of the top synthetic sires but only 3 (Mercer Mill, Wagon Limit, and Whywhywhy) of the bottom 14 sires (21.4%) -- effectively, Bold Ruler bloodlines are 300% more likely to be in top all-weather stallions than in poorer-performing studs.  That's a huge difference.  Interestingly, all three of the poor-performing Bold Ruler-influenced stallions on this list are from Mr. Prospector tail-male lines.  And none contain lines of Relaunch or the larger In Reality bloodlines.

Nashua's numbers weren't as clear-cut:  he was present in 14 of 28 (50%) of the top synthetic sires in our study, and in 7 of 14 (also 50%) of the studs in today's list.  Basically a wash.

Nasrullah's influence on top all-weather sires (26 of 28 for 92.9%) is comparable to that of his numbers with lesser synthetic producers (12 of 14 for 85.7%) and the sample size is small enough to disregard what appears to be a slight benefit of his bloodlines for synthetic success.  It would appear that the benefit comes very specifically with Bold Ruler lines.

The sire whose overall progeny in-the-money percentage is most negatively affected by synthetics is Olympio, with a 19% differential.  Olympio has crosses of neither Bold Ruler nor Nashua, but does have Nasrullah as his third sire in tail-male.

(I should point out here that I'm not intentionally knocking any of the stallions discussed today.  Many are top-notch sires whose progeny have wowed the racing world on dirt and turf!)


Leave a Comment:


This is a fascinating study.  The only quibble I have is the smaller size of this second sample.  Is there a reason why you chose the cutoff at 12.5% instead of something lower?

Very interesting that it seems to be specifically Bold Ruler who improves all-weather performance.  Could this be because of his broodmare sire Discovery, who like Relaunch and In Reality is from the Fair Play line?

08 Feb 2009 12:03 PM

Interesting but statistically on shaky ground.

You seem to be making the assumption that all stallions have the equal likelihood of their offspring running on synthetics.  In reality, stallions in regional markets where synthetics are prominent will have a larger percentage of running/winning (or not) on synthetics.  Look at the leading synthetic sires for 2008--Tribal Rule and Benchmark.  Regional stallions (CA) where synthetics are the norm.

With that in mind, you might want to try performing this analysis on, say, California stallions only or Kentucky stallions only.  With California stallions, it's pretty fair to say that their get have an equal opportunity to run on synthetic as any other stallion in the state.

24 Feb 2009 2:20 PM

Recent Posts


  • Pedigree Newsletter:
    The Five-Cross Files will be featured in a new Pedigree Analysis newsletter from To sign up for this free weekly email -- or any other newsletters from The Blood-Horse -- just click here.

Recommended Reading

More Blogs