Broodmarathon: Will a Smart Breeding to an Uncelebrated Stallion Help or Hurt Annual Dues?

Hip #3886 (catalog page, pedigree), an 11-year-old mare named ANNUAL DUES, sells Thurs., Nov. 18, 2010 at the Keeneland November mixed sale

  • Thoroughbred female family:  1-c
  • Race record: 10 starts, 2 wins, 4 seconds, 0 thirds. Earned $94,919.
  • Produce record: dam of 7 foals, 5 of racing age, 3 raced, 2 winners, 1 stakes winner. 
  • Sale history:  $32,000 RNA at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale
  • Covering sire: Talent Search

Putting a mare in foal to a stallion that's not on most breeders' radar is usually not a great gamble if you plan to offer that mare in a breeding stock sale.

Of course, Ken and Sarah Ramsey don't always follow the rule book, and they've earned the right to do things their own way--as breeders, as owners, and as consignors.

In the case of the 11-year-old Devil His Due mare Annual Dues, the Ramseys bred her to their homebred Talent Search, a son of thier useful stallion Catienus, probably for several good reasons. Certainly they want to promote Talent Search as a young stallion (he stood his first season at Diamond B Stables in Pennsylvania in 2010). The chestnut stud has one of those race records that is so close to being commercial it hurts: winner of a couple of sprint stakes at 4, he was grade I-placed no fewer than three times the same year, including in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint. For the difference of a few lengths in a few races, this stallion easily could be a hot commodity in Kentucky instead of a secret gem tucked away in the northeast.

The Ramseys also knew that Annual Dues' best foal was homebred Talking Treasure in 2004--a daughter of Catienus. The filly racked up seven wins from 14 starts including stakes wins at Belmont, Finger Lakes, and three times at Saratoga, for $361,737 in career earnings. A full sister to Talking Treasure, Democrat Taxes, won five times and was in the money 11 more for a 20-5-5-6 record and $127,521 earnings. Either the mare is just above average, or the cross with Catienus is working.

Annual Dues' first three runners have averaged 18.7 starts each so far (her '06 filly is still in training, so that number could still rise), indicating a reasonable amount of durability.She ran 10 times herself with two wins and nearly $95,000 lifetime winnings that included a Saratoga maiden special and a Keeneland allowance. There's clearly some class here.  More than $80,000 of that bankroll, by the way, came after the Ramseys claimed Annual Dues (for $50,000) in the only race she ran for a tag.

Here's a mare selling late in the marathon sale--session 11 of 13, or Book 6--that might get overlooked by buyers who think of themselves as Book 3 or Book 4 types. Annual Dues is not the type of mare a pinhooker would want to "flip" the carried foal; until Talent Search makes a name for himself, his progeny are going to be for racing owners. But it's also a mare whose progeny seem to pay their bills and show a profit, while having some genetic potential for larger scores. (Third dam Back Ack produced millionairess North Sider, champion older mare of 1987 when she won three grade I events.)

As always, I'll make a prediction of what will happen come November 18. In last year's Session 11, the average was $7,633, the median was $5,000, and the high price was $50,000. Annual Dues should beat the average, but probably not by a whole lot. If she goes for less than $8,000, I believe her new owner gets a real steal. If she brings more than $20,000, I believe there's a good chance she'll be a fair investment in the long run, but it would indicate that several would-be buyers have decided she's a good-looking mare with tons of potential.

More importantly, I want to hear your ideas about purchasing a mare in foal to a non-commercial stallion. Do you like to see a mare like Annual Dues who's carrying a foal bred similarly to her best earlier offspring? Does such a status, with a lesser-known stallion, improve or depress her value? Would you prefer to buy the same mare barren?


Leave a Comment:


I can see the logic of breeding her to Talent Search, but it would, I think, take a breed-to-race buyer to go for this package deal. Especially considering the resulting foal will be from his first crop; there's not even the hope that he'll have made a success of himself before this foal heads to training.

I think Annual Dues would be a nice mare for the breed-to-race owner. But having her in foal to a lesser-known, non-commercial stallion **in this market** will lessen her value.

On the upside, the foal she's carrying could well turn out to be a durable, useful horse that will give the breed-to-race operation a lot of fun at the track.

And really, isn't that the whole point?

26 Oct 2010 11:21 PM


27 Oct 2010 2:24 AM

Kudos to the Ramseys.  Despite their "kittens" taking over the world, they're throw-backs to the old time breeder-racers.

So we'd probably be smart to consider the mare if we never intended to sell the foal.  At least the cross seems to have worked before and it would make the owner happy to (probably) at least get into a winner's circle once or twice.

27 Oct 2010 10:08 AM

And any mention of a pedigree here?  There are lines that are known for weakness and yet if you look at any pedigree today, including Zenyatta's, there's that weakness.  Some horses it's bred in multiple times like Eight Belles, creating a horse bred to break.  Time to start breeding for strength again even if it is a "nobody."

27 Oct 2010 4:57 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          I really like this mare! She's the dam of a stakes winner , She comes from good connections and I like her pedigree. As for her being in foal to a relatively unknown sire is not a minus. Talent Search is a nicely bred proven Graded Stakes placed horse and could have a future if bred to the right mares ! I'd definately stick to the Storm Cat line with this mare !

27 Oct 2010 9:09 PM

Heck yeah ... I would definitely give it a shot, provided that I liked the mare and stallion's conformation.  There are plenty of examples of this situation and they often work well at a bargain price.

28 Oct 2010 12:58 PM
Pedigree Ann

Professional racehorse family. At least when they don't send dirt-bred offspring overseas to run on turf. Her sire is pure dirt, and the female line goes back to August Belmont importation Chinkara via a 3/4 sister to blue hen and foundation mare Etoile Filante, with dirt-performed sired all the way down the damline.

29 Oct 2010 10:40 AM

Excellent topic of discussion. Absolutely take a gamble with this mare. She should sell in a price range that makes her more attractive for "breeding up". I have a young mare that traces back to Etoile Filante(11 gen) as well, Lavender Twist(2002). Any suggestions to consider in Fla. Stallions.

29 Oct 2010 7:51 PM

I thought the pedigree looked familiar.  I almost bought this mare's half sister A J Top by Judge Smells a couple years ago at Barretts.

Sure, I think she's a value to a breed to race owner.

30 Oct 2010 2:33 AM
an ole railbird

she would work for my farm. at $7500 or less.

   have a nice day. "an ole railbird"

05 Jul 2012 9:47 PM

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