Q&A - Why Doesn't Aptitude Rate Well With Mr Prospector Line Mares?

Christine asks: I am hoping you can help me to understand why TrueNicks assigns a rating of "D" to Aptitude-Mr. Prospector crosses yet Enicks assigns an "A+" to the same cross. By my own manual analysis, 35% of Aptitude's top performing progeny are from broodmare sires in the Mr. Prospector line. Is there a way to use TrueNicks to determine which broodmare sire line would in fact give the best rating bred to Aptitude?

Another confounding example. TrueNicks gives a "D" rating for Aptitude and Spree (by Conquistador Cielo) mating. Yet, if you look at the interactive nicking on Equineline's pedigree report you see that the AEI for Aptitude-Conquistador Cielo mares exceeds the AEI for both Aptitude as a stallion and Conquistador Cielo as a broodmare sire. Shouldn't that justify a TrueNicks rating that is at least better than a "C"?  Enicks gives this cross a "B+" which is more in line with the data from Equineline's interactive nicking.

Byron's response: Thank you for the question. This is something that TrueNicks users would be interested to discuss as you have raised a couple of elements which we believe separates TrueNicks from other nicking services.

There is an interesting phenomenon occurring with sons of A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) which is not represented well in other nicking services and indeed is why an opportunity based program such as TrueNicks which looks at all the foals bred on a cross has an advantage in our opinion.

You would be well aware of the inordinate success that A. P. Indy has had with mares by Mr. Prospector and his sons and grandsons. Despite receiving a number of mares by this sire and sireline, more than hypothetical opportunity would suggest, A. P. Indy continues to churn out stakes winners at a fantastic rate with mares from this sireline.

However, for whatever reason this is not the case for sons of A. P. Indy. Sons of A. P. Indy have also seen an inordinate amount of Mr. Prospector line mares, yet, with one or two exceptions, have not performed nearly as well as their sire when bred to mares by this sireline. Thus, when a son of A. P. Indy that has not had runners (take Master Command (TrueNicks,SRO) as an example), is mated to a Mr. Prospector line mare, the rating is a "C+" (variant 1.43) which means that it is just doing a little above what would be expected. Representing anything other than this rating for a generic Mr. Prospector line mare would be leading breeders astray and a miss-allocation of resources (there are better options out there for you).

Aptitude (TrueNicks,SRO) is a typical son of A. P. Indy in that he has seen an awful lot of Mr. Prospector line mares. If we just look at mares by Mr. Prospector and his sons (forgetting his grandsons and great grandsons for a moment) by my own hand count he has 106 foals out of mares by Mr. Prospector and his sons for just one stakes winner (out of a Gulch (TrueNicks,SRO) mare). Actually, it is further worth commenting that the generic Aptitude/Mr. Prospector line mare rating has rated a "D" for an awful long time now. There has only been one stakes winner, Manteca, added to the results column in the past year which saw the variant move marginally from 0.40 to 0.55 for Aptitude/Mr. Prospector line mares.

This also gives us a chance to talk about how the TrueNicks rating is calculated and why the rating you mention above (Aptitude/Spree) does not rate well.

TrueNicks considers not only how Aptitude has performed when bred to the group of Mr. Prospector line mares that he has been bred to but also how that group of mares has done when bred to all other stallions, and how Aptitude has done when bred to mares by all other sire lines. This is a unique feature of TrueNicks in that it is looking at how well the cross has performed and compares it to the alternates for the stallion and the group of mares that he has been bred to. It is true opportunity. It literally looks at in some cases thousands of records and renders the result back in a couple of seconds which continues to amaze us and is not something that could have been done until recently with the computing power that is available to us.

In the mating of Aptitude/Spree, the group of Mr. Prospector line mares that have been bred to Aptitude have performed significantly better when mated to other stallions so this is what is bringing this rating down. There was a slight uptick in the rating when he produced a stakes winner on the broader cross but not enough to make any impact and in the case of Aptitude, with so many foals represented on the cross, it would take a considerable number of stakes winners to make it move any further.

Now, you know how earlier we said that there were "one or two exceptions"? Well, in the case of Aptitude, and indeed a couple of other sons of A. P. Indy, there is a strand of the Mr Prospector sire line that does work - Fappiano. We could go into a decent dissertation on why this son of Mr. Prospector works with A. P. Indy (it's to do with a horse named Frizzle and the Frizette family) but suffice it to say Fappiano has operated quite uniquely with both A. P. Indy and his sons.

In the case of Aptitude he has two stakes winners from twenty two foals by Fappiano, his sons and grandsons which makes this his best performing branch of any sire line. His best runner, the grade I winner Great Hunter is out of a mare by Roy, a son of Fappiano while the aforementioned Manteca is out of a mare by Quiet American (TrueNicks,SRO) . Take a mare by any son or grandson of Fappiano and it is an "A++" with Aptitude. Indeed it is worth commenting that Fappiano is also a great "mixer" with other strains of Mr. Prospector so we have never been fearful of breeding a Fappiano mare to a stallion that is by or out of a Mr. Prospector line mare (promising young sire Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO) is a good example of what we are talking about).

I hope this answers your questions. Thankfully for stallion owners and breeders TrueNicks has a stallion affinity report in the works that should be released later in the year that rates a stallion against all known broodmare sires in the population so manual computation as we have performed above shouldn't be necessary. The report will give a rating on each known active broodmare sire and emerging broodmare sire so in the case of Aptitude it will quickly show which sirelines to avoid and which ones to focus on to help manage a stallions career.


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