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Q&A - What are the Differences Between TrueNicks & Other Nicking Systems? What's More Important, a 'Good' Dosage Profile or a Good Nick Rating?

Dawn asks: I am somewhat new to this and really need some help. have a mare named Buy You A Bear (Bayou Hebert x Sheckyrilla -
Shecky Greene) that I am contemplating breeding to Borrego or Leroidesanimaux. These are my questions:

1) Based on TrueNicks, she nicks better with 'Leroi' than Borrego, but her Dosage is better with Borrego and she has more stakes winners with
him as well. Is it because the actual horses in the pedigrees are exact vs. just in that particular bloodline?

2) When I look at her and Borrego and Leroidesanimaux on other nicking systems, they do come up a bit different (a D with Borrego, etc...) . I know there are differences with the two systems, I am just unclear as to what they are.


Alan's response: Thank you for the question. We are always happy to talk about the differences between TrueNicks and other nicking systems.

Firstly, before we get to the nicking part of the question, I want to clear up something about the dosage. You mention that the dosage with Borrego (TrueNicks,SRO) is "better" than the dosage with Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) (TrueNicks,SRO) . However, dosage is just designed as a reflection of the aptitudinal contribution of the principal males in the pedigree. Borrego has a pedigree with a broader distribution of aptitude, due to some of the stamina influences in the pedigree. In terms of the modern interpretation of dosage, the mating with Borrego produces a pedigree for a horse that is likely to stay further than with Leroidesanimaux. This is reflected in their race record: Borrego stayed ten furlongs well - and possibly got further - and at his best was able to produce a very powerful turn of foot in races at that distance. Leroidesanimaux was primarily a miler (although he won good races at up to 8 1/2 furlongs), but was fast enough to win the Morvich Handicap (gr. III) at 6 1/2 furlongs. The dam won over 4 1/2 and 6 furlongs. To sum up, however, neither dosage is "better" but the mating with Borrego is possibly more likely to produce a horse with stamina (although mating a sprinting mare to a staying stallion can also end up with a horse that takes completely after one or other side of the pedigree). With Leroidesanimaux your almost certainly going to get a sprinter or sprinter/miler.

From the nicking point of view they reflect in somewhat different ways. Obviously both horses don't yet have enough starters on any cross to achieve a rating (Borrego has yet to have runners). There is also not enough evidence for the cross of Candy Stripes (sire of Leroidesanimaux) with mares by Bayou Herbert to get a rating, but Candy Stripes has two stakes winners in South America out of mares from the line of Tom Rolfe (the grandsire of Bayou Hebert). On this basis, the cross is rated B+.

For Borrego, we have to go back one more generation in the sire line - to Borrego's sire, El Prado, and grandsire, Sadler's Wells - with mares from the Hoist the Flag line. This has had many more tries than Candy Stripes (who has very few stallion sons) with Hoist the Flag. Since it involves Sadler's Wells and his many good stallion sons (as well as a far bigger pool of mares than Candy Stripes has covered from the line), it has produced more stakes winners and some very high-class horses. In terms of stakes winners produced by the cross, it has produced a somewhat higher ratio of stakes winners to starters than the representatives of the Sadler's Wells and Hoist the Flag lines involved when bred to all other mares.

The "other" nicking system that you mentioned returns lower ratings for both Leroidesanimaux and Borrego. For Leroidesanimaux, it is returning a rating based on the Blushing Groom sire line, rather than Candy Stripes. Their system is based on the proportion stakes winners from a sire line and broodmare sire line in their database, rather than actually starters on a cross (only TrueNicks, which uses the database of the Jockey Club is able to do this). What this suggests is that the proportion of horses bred on the cross is actually lower than its representation in the "other" database would suggest (in this case, probably a function of geographic circumstance).

The bottom line is both crosses have outperformed opportunity, and I would not be opposed to either one. As I mentioned earlier, the Leroidesanimaux mating is almost guaranteed to produce a sprinter or sprinter/miler, and the Borrego mating has more of a stamina-speed contrast, and might produce a foal that takes more strongly after one or other parent. From a pedigree pattern standpoint, I would note that Bayou Hebert goes back to a near three-parts-sister to Thong (third dam of Sadler's Wells), and the mare also has Cap Size, a good stakes winner who is a half brother to champion Smart Deb (fourth dam of Borrego). 

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