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READER Q&A - Should I Breed My Mare?

Reader's question: My mare Pebbles Delight has an A++ wih Corinthian.  She has been accepted to his book for 2009.  However, since she doesn't have a lot of black type up front, I probably won't make any profit on the resulting foal.  What are your thoughts on this mating? I love the mating, but my pocketbook needs to rule rather than my heart. Sally.

Byron's reply:


Thanks for the email. Firstly, I have to state that I am a big fan of Corinthian (TrueNicks,SRO) as a stallion prospect. A son of Pulpit, like Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO) and Sky Mesa (TrueNicks,SRO) , Corinthian has the royally-bred Easy Goer as his broodmare sire and hails from one of the strongest female lines in the stud book -- a lot to like just on the pedigree page. Of course he was also a talented, if sometimes wayward, racehorse who proved an outstanding miler. He ticks a lot of boxes, if you like.

Without wanting to dishearten you, here is my take on your mare and the mating. Please remember it is only my opinion and you might find others with different opinions. 

Pebbles Delight is, from a commercial sense, a little light on pedigree in both content and structure. With a grade III-placed horse the best performed on her immediate pedigree page, she would indeed find it hard to garner much initial interest unless the resultant foal was an exceptional physical individual. Her sire, the well-related Quarry, is the lesser half-brother to the outstanding Archipenko, her next dam by the well-bred but moderately-performed Gettysburg Address, while her next dam is by similarly well-related but moderately-performed stallion in Roanoke Island. This mare is a classic example of what I would term an "almost pedigree" -- she is by Quarry not Forty Niner, her next dam is by Gettysburg Address not Blushing Groom (FR), and her next dam is by Roanoke Island not Cyane.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that while the mating is an A++ with TrueNicks, there is also a rather clever inbreeding to the sisters Number and Bound (both by Nijinsky II out of Special), but I fear that while that might prove beneficial, typically mares with this type of pedigree generally (not absolutely) find it hard to overcome the limiting quality of their immediate ancestry. While a good mating based on sire line affinity, this cross commercially is a stretch for the mare.

The TrueNicks algorithm requires what Alan Porter likes to refer to as "intelligent interpretation."  Part of the process of selecting the best stud for a given mare is to match them in class and quality. If you are sold on Corinthian -- and I can understand exactly why -- I would look at upgrading your mare. If you are sold on your mare, then you are probably stretching her commercial appeal just a shade. Perhaps a similar cross to a less prominent representative of the Pulpit line would produce a foal that you would be proud to race yourself.

I hope this helps.

Filed under: , , , ,


Another son of Pulpit new to the stud industry is Sightseeing. He's $7,500. and will give an A++ as well.

Another son of Pulpit that was not well received in the breeding shed was Stroll.  Sent to Italy before offspring hit the race track.

Check out his stats on the first sire list.

you might get lucky with Sightseeing with not alot invested in a stud fee.

fishfarm 22 Jan 2009 6:04 AM

With no disrespect to your mare, since every horse deserves equal care and love in their own individual right, the problem I see is representative of why there are so many foals produced every year glutting the "market"...a marginal mare being bred "up" in the hopes of producing better than her pedigree via the stallion, leaving her to be the "weakest link"...happens in the dog world, too.

This is why there are so many horses with weak tale-female lines.

To me, and I am a nobody in the thoroughbred world (but I have bred 4 generations of working Police/Narcotic/Bomb/Search & Rescue K-9's) the female has to be the absolute best you can possibly afford, then step up a little more, and your job then becomes finding a stallion that won't diminish her quality.

Weakness always manifests itself...there are exceptions, but there is too much weak breeding trying to get the big buck exception.

da3hoss 22 Jan 2009 6:39 AM

A nice change in the last few years are the new Pulpit line sires in the Mid-Atlantic.  (I am assuming Pebbles Delight is located in the East due to a prior breeding to Gators N Bears).  Horses like Ecclesiastic in PA and Oratory in MD would give you the same A++ cross at a fraction of the cost.  Since your hope for a return on investment is to get a pretty foal or race, why go to KY sire at $30K until your mare has runners?  Other angles to consider would be a Danzig line sire (A cross) like Greek Sun in MD or to go in a different direction by adding some Cyane on the stallion side with a Smart Guy (PA), or going to Turn-To through Hail to Reason or Sir Gaylord line stallions (maybe via Halo and Saint Ballado or via Dynaformer's new son at stallion Purim).  The other question that remains is:  finding the right physical fit for your mare.  Hypothetical matings only work if the physical beings work together.

American Dad 22 Jan 2009 9:21 AM

I found this very interesting. I certainly don't want to disparage this mare, but I wonder if anyone is surprised that a mare like this would be accepted into Corinthian's book.  Is there something more going on here than meets the eye?

Anne 22 Jan 2009 10:41 AM

Do you want to take a shot at this? I've got a 5yr old mare,Two Many Dots by Willard Scott. I want to breed her to a Alberta based stallion in 2010. She'll be bred this spring to a QH on a mare sharing agreement. I know this is pretty minor but do you have any thoughts on who to send her to? I like Gilded Time cause he'd fit her in a physical sense. She is tall and long backed.

Wanda 22 Jan 2009 11:35 AM

I agree with Byron. One of the problems we have is too often mare owners overbreed their mare. Corinthian is an awesome stallion, physically and genetically. However, you should look for a situation like Tapit were there's a similarly bred horse that you can get at a value who holds some upside. Corinthian while nice will be a tremendous financial risk (based upon your mare's limited pedigree).

C Bea 22 Jan 2009 11:39 AM

a bloodstock friend of mine likes to say that you need to consider the quality of the other mares going to the stallion.  Will your mare be in the upper half of those in terms of quality??  If not, then you should probably pass unless you want to race it yourself.  That way of looking at it is probably even more relevant now that stallions are breeding over 100 mares....

catnip lane 22 Jan 2009 6:24 PM

I love Corinthian both because of his pedigree and his looks.  a very handsome horse.  i would expect him to be a top Stallion and certainly hope he proves to be one.  I wish you all the best with Pebbles Delight and her foal.

Stroll had a winner yesterday.  Agree about Ecclesiastic.  Any son (or daughter) of Pulpit is of interest to me!

Personally think it is ludicrous that Stallions are bred to so many mares but then greed rules ok!!!!

God Bless

Best wishes


Abbie Knowles 22 Jan 2009 8:13 PM

NO, you shouldn't breed your horse;  there are way too many horses in this world and I'll bet that somewhere there is a horse that someone bred and doesn't want (a throwaway).  If this horse you breed produces a horse that can not run or perform to your standards then what will happen to that horse you bred. Go buy one that needs a home. There are enough throw away and expendible horses in this world, what will you be breeding??????????

Whatever 23 Jan 2009 11:24 AM

Harkens back to last month with similar debate about Peppers Pride.

Should you breed up or continue breeding to the 'almost' stallions?

outsider 23 Jan 2009 1:32 PM

I see a lot of validity in all of these comments. It certainly affirms, however, the genius of Frederico  Tesio, who I believe made a living out of breeding up. The science is an art for sure.

I'm quite excited to see Pulpit lighting up the world and continuing the Seattle Slew/AP Indy legacy. I loved Corinthian, though he was too much of a "bad boy" to get to the Derby. At least he was worth the work.

I'm not a breeder but I do believe in managing my money. I'd take a chance on "lesser" stallion.

Jim P 23 Jan 2009 2:39 PM


Corinthian covered 175 mares late year.

Too much breeding, too many unwonted horses. Rescues are full, and the horse are being shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

Debbie 23 Jan 2009 2:40 PM

The question clearly was about the final sale down the road and this foal will not bring the kind of money needed to recoup the stud fee.  Just look at the sales results from Keeneland.  Not pretty.  

If, however, the question was about racing the foal, then by all means, breed to Corinthian, but only if you plan on keeping the foal.  

I would love to breed to one of the fancy guys, but my own mare is not herself fancy.  She has a big heart, ran very well and has a wonderful temperament, but I will breed her close to home to stallions that showed what she herself possesses.  Fun to dream, but the reality is unless you are Azeri, bred to A.P. Indy you don't bring squat-oh wait, maybe not....

Dreamer's Mom 23 Jan 2009 6:10 PM

Have to agree with regards to Ecclesiastic-he's a very good looking Stallion and at a very good price too! He's bred along the Same lines as Tapit - both of them out of dams by Fappiano sires. Have your considered having a PA bred?

KY PA Breeder 23 Jan 2009 6:48 PM

For what it's worth, and leaving aside sentimentality (and I'm as sentimental as anyone - I have five rescue horses and a donkey here!), if I had the Corinithian stud fee to spend, I would find a mare with a bit more race-record and pedigree -- at the moment $30,000 would buy an in foal mare that would be in the upper end of a regional program.

If I just loved my mare and wanted to breed to race from her, and wanted to go the Pulpit line, I'd go Oratory, who I suspect was turning into a very good horse before he got hurt, and is bred like Tapit, and breed for a Maryland-sire/PA-bred horse.

Whichever way you go, good luck!

Alan Porter 23 Jan 2009 8:47 PM

Hi Alan a son of PULPIT Named  preach to me His Dam is Tajannub/Dixieland Band/Mount Hagen cross So a Vice Regent/Habitat Cross is a good Nicks For Him,The Pedigree is good.

trevor 24 Jan 2009 11:46 AM

Save your stud fee for training and breed to race in the new MD program. I agree with Alan, take your mare to Oratory, he was cut out to be a great horse.  

Michael D 24 Jan 2009 12:03 PM

I hate the fct that there are too many horses being bred so many horses are ending up at the slaughterhouse. Even the great Exceller ended up there which i was both very upset and totally appalled about!  

So really do feel strongly that Stallion owners should be more responsible and less greedy and stop making them cover such huge books.  As I have written before 70 per stallion is enough!

Oratory is another favourite of course so yes he would be a good idea.  I adore Corinthin nad love eccentric horses so the fact he could be naughty did not bother me.  A current favourite Adriano dosses instead of giving of his best I suspect.  But am hoping the brilliant Bill Mott can persuade him to consistently put his best hoof forward on the track this year!!!!

I wish you well with your mare as long as you plan to keep the foal.  If not you should not bother but buy a horse/s in need of a good home with the money you would have spent on stud fees I agree with Whatever there!

Abbie Knowles 25 Jan 2009 1:42 AM

With regrads the numbers that stallions cover its a 2 edged sword.  They get huge revenue from the breeding fees but in fairness a lot of the big boys put this revenue back into buying weanlings and yearlings from the proceeds.  If they do not do that we do not support them and call them every name under the sun.  We are a though audience however I think there should be limits.  I would suggest that they have a limit of 85 to 100 mares for a stallion. anything above that is a huge taxing or something to make sure that they don't over breed.  The stallion men will then become very selective and the system will fall fall into place where the men are taking the best possible mare for their stallion not just the first stud fee that comes along.  It will cut down on over production and lots of the stallions starting out that never really get a chance simply would and basically it would be a case of spreading the wealth.  It is though to get a good solution.  But this crap of 175 to 225 mares for some stallions is getting old.  

John Wells 25 Jan 2009 10:36 PM

If your pocketbook rules and if you are set on Corinthian, you are better off buying a Corinthian weanling or yearling with good pedigree top and bottom, good conformation, and race him/her yourself.  With today's economy this may be a less expensive route - you get what you want and you are not breeding an unwanted horse and you may have some real fun seeing your horse in the winner's circle.

El 28 Jan 2009 12:14 AM

Thank you all for your comments and words of wisdom.  Perhaps I should send one of my other mares.   They would be "Free Expresso" or "Tour of the Rose."  As far as Pebbles goes if you would threw the paper away and see her first foal, everyone would be all over her.  I've seen many of Blacktype mares that never produced anything and my mares with out the paper has produced more winners and earnings.  It's all in the mixing of the blood.  I might be wrong, but that's the way I look at it.  But you are right, she would be so low on the totem pole I would have to keep the foal to race myself and like some of you have mentioned I could go out and buy at that stud fee. Now I'm wondering about the mating I was thinking about for my mare Halo Corley Girl to Cryptoclearance. It's a 20/20.

Pebbles Owner 28 Jan 2009 11:12 AM

Dear Pebbles owner.  Good luck anyway and this site has certainly provided plenty food for thought.  I am sure Pebbles foal is a real beauty!  Hope all goes well and Godspeed!

All the best for the future to you, your mares and their offspring!

God Bless

Best wishes


Abbie Knowles 28 Jan 2009 8:40 PM

Pebbles Owner-I too, dream big for my mare, but right now there is no market.  None. Zip. Zilch.  If Valenzeri can't sell, what chance do those less regally bred have?  My mare is a stakes winner, but I will be racing or pleasure riding her babies!  Breeding to race seems to be the surest bet, so to speak, right now, not breeding to sell.  Keep your mare if you love her and breed her as you see fit, but if you are in this to sell, beware.  

Dreamer's Mom 28 Jan 2009 9:18 PM

As breeders we owe it to the horses we have bred to make sure that they have a home after they have completed their racing careers. If they don't make it to the track, they also deserve to have the best possible care. They don't ask to be born. We put groups together to race our horses and have agreed to give them a home when their racing career is over. Our responsibility to them does not end when they no longer can earn their keep.

Kerri 03 Jul 2009 2:06 PM

some good advice there but do your own study and study hard.Look at sales results,nicks,what is coming through for the stallion in unraced or lightly raced crops and work out your perceived return.Stallion owners never tell you the truth of how many mares the stallion will get or what other mares are booked in but go with your gut feel. I did all my research with my moderately performed mare from a family that had not produced for a stakes performed horse and got 2 of them that now are including a GR1

WDG 04 Jul 2010 2:31 AM

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