The Thoroughbred industry's breeding calendar, including production of the Stallion Register, is based on a handful of key annual events. As I have worked this summer preparing for the 2011 Stallion Register, it's occurred to me several times that many of these events are related to the timing of the Breeders' Cup weekend.
First is the "late November" data cutoff for stallion statistical pages. Every stallion farm wants the most recent Breeders' Cup champion progeny to be included on stat pages. Those two days of racing are often the most impressive data points that a stallion's progeny will accomplish in a given year. (Of course, our Stallion Register Online includes up-to-date results and statistics at all times.)
Second is the announcement of incoming stallions. Many owners will wait until after their colt runs his retirement race -- the Classic or the Mile, often -- before announcing where he will stand, or whether he'll be retired at all.
And finally, the majority of farms set stud fees in late November. That timing is another side effect of the Breeders' Cup races; it's rumored that some stallion fees will shift as much as 25% based on an especially strong (or weak) weekend of championships.
Fortunately, the timing coincides with breeders' research. For Northern Hemisphere matings, breeders start to nominate their mares to specific stallions usually in mid-December for the upcoming year. Most breeding sheds are open from mid-February to early July. Breeders want their primary research tool to arrive when they're ready to study the data and make their selections.
As a breeder, how much influence does Breeders' Cup have on your stallion selections? When do you make your "final" decision where to send your mares each year? When do you submit nomination paperwork?