When an 'F' is Not an 'F'

That remarkable California sire, Unusual Heat, was represented by another graded stakes winner when his daughter, Lightmyfirebaby, won the Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. III) last week, her first victory in a race at that level. Lightmyfirebaby is the fifth graded winner by Unusual Heat, following 2008 grade I winner Golden Doc A, Tucked Away, Unusual Suspect, and Lethal Heat.

Given that Lightmyfirebaby was an A++ TrueNicks horse even before the weekend's win, we were very surprised that she was reported an F rating by our chief competitor. This is a major discrepancy, and well worth looking into.

A quick search showed that there have been only eight starters by Nureyev and his sons out of Valid Appeal mares (the cross that Unusual Heat is rated on), and three of them are stakes winners. Clicking on the competitor's report shows that their system only recognizes one of those stakes winners. That's presumably because it doesn't include restricted (including state-bred) stakes winners.

This limitation means that a California breeder checking his Valid Appeal-line mare with Unusual Heat on that system will be informed that the cross is a poor one, when in fact it has produced three stakes winners from eight starters (37.5% stakes winners to starters). This is another reason TrueNicks should be the nicking tool of choice for regional breeders.

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