Reader Q&A -- This Cross Produced Multiple Grade I Winners, Why Is It a "C" Rating?

Question from "DZ":  When using Exchange Rate nicking with Buckpasser mare line the nick comes up with a C rating, yet it shows top performers with the cross throwing 5 separate grade I winners.  Why not a higher nick rating?

Alan's reply:  Thank you for the question.

The Danzig/Buckpasser cross is one that has existed for a considerable time, in fact the first stakes winner on the cross (by Danzig out of a Buckpasser mare) was foaled a quarter of a century ago. Danzig himself sired 10 stakes winners out of Buckpasser-line mares - including three of the total of six grade I winners bred on the cross, and five graded winners - and a horse by Danzig out of a Buckpasser mare rates A++.

Over the ensuing years, there have been many opportunities for mares by Danzig sons and grandsons to cross with mares by Buckpasser and his sons, but the level of success has not been maintained. There are only three other grade I winners by all sons and grandsons of Danzig out of all Buckpasser-line mares, and only eight graded winners.

Looking at the TrueNicks page for Exchange Rate with a mare by a son of Buckpasser, we can deduce several things. Firstly, the cross has a rating that is somewhat above opportunity (variant of 1.45). Also note that it has produced some high-class winners, and that one of them, Swap Fliparoo, is by Exchange Rate. A look at the inbreeding and line-breeding in the five-cross pedigree (highlighted in color and listed underneath) shows any time Exchange Rate is crossed over a Buckpasser mare, a dupication of Buckpasser occurs (Exchange Rate's broodmare sire, Seeking the Gold, is out of a Buckpasser mare). This may well predispose him to cross well over Buckpasser. In the case of Swap Fliparoo, a look at her pedigree shows that her broodmare sire, Buckaroo, had Buckpasser's third dam, La Troienne, 3 x 5 (through closely-related strains). This again would have helped the Buckpasser inbreeding.

Looking at the only other grade I winners on the cross not by Danzig: National Currency, in South Africa, is by National Assembly (dam by Buckpasser) out of a mare by Spend a Buck (by Buckaroo, doubled to La Troienne); and Theseo, in Australia, is by a son of Danehill (second dam by Buckpasser), out of a mare inbred 2 x 3 to Buckpasser. What this is indicating is not so much success for the Danzig/Buckpasser cross, but the power of the accumulation of the La Troienne family through this strain.

So, even though it has produced some top-class horses (most by Danzig himself out of mares by Buckpasser mares, a great sire and great broodmare sire), the cross when taken overall, has done only little better than opportunity. A look at the five best horses does show that Exchange Rate - the sire in question - has a grade I winner out of a mare by a son of Buckpasser (and which is inbred to Buckpasser). Checking the pedigree of the other grade I winner listed among the five best horses shows that horse is also inbred to Buckpasser (free five cross pedigrees of those horses are available at the site of our partner, equineline.com). Given consideration of the best horses listed in the five-cross feature, and a little intelligent interpretation, might lead us to conclude that while the cross of Danzig-line stallions over Buckpasser-line mares in general has not been a particularly strong one, in cases where Buckpasser (and other strains of La Troienne) are duplicated, it could be worth considering.

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