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We had an interesting inquiry from a reader who used TrueNicks to look at a Carson City mare with both Dynaformer (TrueNicks, SRO) and his newly-retired grade I winning son, Purim (TrueNicks, SRO) (Three Chimneys, which stands Dynaformer, and Richland Hills, which stands Purim, provide complimentary hypothetical matings for these stallions.) The reader's query was why the cross of her Carson City mare with Dynaformer gives a C, while the same mare with Purim gives a B rating. She writes, "The ‘Best Horses Bred on This Cross' are almost the same. I do not understand why the ratings are different."

As politicians like to say, "That's a very good question." The answer explains something about the TrueNicks program specifically, and about matings in general.

The cross of Dynaformer over Mr. Prospector-line mares has proven to produce some very good horses, coming up with six stakes winners, including Barbaro (out of a mare by Carson City) and other grade I winners Film Maker and Riskaverse. However, Dynaformer has been used extensively with Mr. Prospector-line mares, and overall, in terms of percentage of stakes winners (when compared with how Dynaformer has done with all other mares, and how the mares with runners by Dynaformer have done with all other stallions), the Dynaformer/Mr. Prospector cross has performed only slightly above opportunity. Thus, this particular cross rates a C with a variant of 1.18 (1.00 being equal to opportunity).

On paper, Dynaformer with Mr. Prospector looks an interesting cross. Dynaformer's sire, Roberto, and Mr. Prospector are respectively out of Bramalea and Gold Digger, two high-class race mares who are by Nashua and who are close genetic relatives. When it comes to Dynaformer, however, it has to be noted that he is a fairly extreme physical type - as anyone who has ever had prospective matings with him checked by one of the biomechanical measuring outfits will testify. I would suggest that means, while Dynaformer/Mr. Prospector can be a good pedigree cross, and is clearly capable of producing excellent runners with the right mares, it is rather inconsistent overall. It is much more dependent than most upon getting the right physical type of Mr. Prospector mare, or the rarely found "happy medium" of extremes.

Of course, there is a natural tendency for extreme biomechanics to be "toned down" in succeeding generations, and we often find combinations that looked good on paper, but that didn't work up close, proving positive - sometimes in multiples - further back in pedigrees. Two examples which come to mind are Tom Fool (particularly through Buckpasser) with Bold Ruler, and Nijinsky II with Buckpasser.

When we come to the Purim/Carson City mating, we move from considering Dynaformer himself with Mr. Prospector-line mares, to considering Dynaformer and his sons with the same mares.

Dynaformer hasn't been a prolific sire of sires, but he has at least two stallion sons that have sired stakes winners out of Mr. Prospector-line mares. When, however, their results are combined with Dynaformer's own, the strike rate of the cross rises to score a B with a variant of 1.65.

Thus, it's very possible that Dynaformer's sons - who will tend to have biomechanics nearer the average of the breed - might well have a better average strike rate than Dynaformer with Mr. Prospector, even if they don't necessarily get horses that are the equal in class to the best products of the cross sired by Dynaformer himself. The refinement that allows us to differentiate between the two is another example of the unique properties of the TrueNicks program.

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