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Perfect Nicking: When a Sire and Broodmare Sire Go Perfect

One of the key parts of the TrueNicks calculation is that it does not calculate a nick based on stakes winners being produced out of the same mare. As good a mare that Cee's Song is, her results are effectively counted as one effort on the calculation of Relaunch with Seattle Song mares for example. However, Truenicks does calculate ratings where from two different mares there has been two separate stakes winners produced. Invariably this latter calculation results in a high variant score (which is why we take note of the rating as opposed to the variant) however we took the view that it was more important to highlight effective nicks, even if off a limited sample size, rather than ignoring them.

A good example is the WinStar stallion Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO) with mares by El Prado (click here). You will see the rating is an A++, but if you look at the top 5 horses bred on the cross, a unique feature of TrueNicks, there are only three names—Bit of Whimsy, Parade Clown, and Cocktail Attire—all stakes winners. Remarkably these are the only three runners bred on the cross!

Interestingly, you wouldn't have normally picked Sadler's Wells to combine well with Distorted Humor, but it does with another example being the Three Chimneys stallion Flower Alley (TrueNicks,SRO) being a son of Distorted Humor who carries Sadler's Wells as the sire of his second dam. We certainly think that outside of WinStar trying to get more Sadler's Wells line mares to their stallion, which may indeed open him up to more European buyers, there would be considerable scope for his sons Any Given Saturday (TrueNicks,SRO), Sharp Humor, It's No Joke, Cowtown Cat (TrueNicks,SRO) and Distorted Reality and we can see that in reverse the likes of Medaglia d'Oro would do well with Distorted Humor mares.

Pedigree Analyst Michael Ventura alerted us to the former Airdrie Stud stallion Yankee Victor who is two foals for two stakes winners out of mares by Woodman while we have also seen that Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) is two for two out of mares by Meadowlake and Williamstown was two for two out of mares by Turkoman in our research.

Have you come across any more examples where the sire and the broodmare sire are two-for-two or three-for-three?

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The Tiznow cross with Slewpy mares has only been tried twice, with the same mare (Hepatica). Both offspring -- Slew's Tizzy and Slew's Tiznow -- are stakes winners.

Indian Charlie with Tank's Prospect has been tried twice (two different mares) and produced two stakes performers -- Pascasio R and Trout River Red.

While not perfect the Smart Strike - Belong to Me cross has met with remarkable success: of 5 offspring three are stakes winners (Papa Clem, Striking Tomisue, Lookin' at Lucky) and two are millionaires (Papa Clem, Lookin' at Lucky).

Mege23 04 Jan 2010 12:06 PM

Thanks this is very useful information, good luck in 2010!

Michael D 04 Jan 2010 4:22 PM

Tiznow-Storm Cat crossings...


Mindy C. 04 Jan 2010 6:21 PM

I flipped a penny in my living room five times and it came up heads five times so it must mean that flipping a coin while standing in my living room will produce an outcome that favors heads over tails. Good luck with that.

Edward 04 Jan 2010 7:08 PM


One of three things is happening. You don't have a fair coin; you're Rosencrantz or Guildenstern; or you're confused about probability.

Assuming neither of the first two for a minute if you really tossed a fair coin five times, and it came up heads each, if there is nothing in the living room, you have witnessed something that that there is only a 3.125% chance of happening. However, if all else is fair, the chance of the coin coming up heads next time is still 50%. Each coin toss is a separate isolated event. Thus to continue to get heads indicates something very strange, as it did to R or G.

However, breeding horse is rather different. To start with it is not an outcome with a binary result (like heads or tails). More importantly, breeding a horse is not like using a fair coin, as there are many factors that potentially "weight" the coin.

Among these is the quality of the individuals used; the environment in which they are raised and trained; and the physical and genetic affinity of the parents.

When we see that a stallion has sired two or three stakes winners from only two or three starters on a cross (Distorted Humor is, or certainly was, three for three with three different El Prado mares for example) tends to indicated genotypical and/or phenotypical affinities between the sire and broodmare sire.

Thus, all things being equal, while common sense tells us that 100% strike rates aren't going to be maintained, it's a lot better idea to drill for oil where it has been found rather than where it has not.

So, when you're betting if you're using a fair coin, don't let the past influence you're expectation of the future, each being a separate unconnected event, but if you are breeding horses, you're probably going to beat random odds if you breed to proven crosses.

Alan Porter 05 Jan 2010 5:20 PM

I surelu enjoy these postings..  I have a

Stalwart mare that has been a good producer for me.  She's produced two stakes horses for me.  In looking for stallions to mate with her, I've come across Dove Hunt.  True Nicks has him with two stakes winners out of three, when bred to Stalwart mares.

joel Zamzow 05 Jan 2010 8:58 PM

Sorry, calculator slip a decimal point or two. Should have said chances of getting a coin to come up heads five times in a row is 3.125%

Alan Porter 06 Jan 2010 8:56 AM

would you recommend breeding to a stallion if he himself is rated a "D" by true nicks??

chris 08 Jan 2010 10:02 AM


I respect and like your work! I also studied Tesio's and Rasmussen's methods. I even discussed breeding philosphies with Leon over lunch, one on one, for 2 1/2 hours back in the 80s at a Handicapping Tourny in Vegas.The man was wise and cordial.

Carl Davis 08 Jan 2010 11:19 AM

With two to race, both of Empire Maker's foals out of Lord At War mares are G1 winners.

I have two stakes producing Lord At War mares, one a graded producer, and I'm looking very closely at him.

Stephen 08 Jan 2010 4:15 PM


With Smart Strike having his close relation Dance Smartly by Danzig, mares by Danzig and his sons look a natural fit.

brogers 08 Jan 2010 8:35 PM

Hi Chris,

If the stallion was a capable runner, or proven sire, his own rating wouldn't worry me. The rating is an expression of how well the cross has worked, so there will always be exceptions. A good runner who is an outcross to the best nicks for his sire is always going to be an interesting proposition.

Carl, thanks. I met Leon once too.He and I were on a panel in Sydney, Australia together.

Stephen, Empire Maker looks good value at the moment. It's interesting that Pioneerof the Nile, in addition to being out of a Lord At War mare is from the family of In Reality (doubled in Empire Maker).

Alan Porter 13 Jan 2010 10:31 AM

Pse, what is known about crosses with Mr.Prospector. Positive as Flower Alley & Roman Ruler or negative or just statisical. An answer would comehandily.

Kjell , swedish breeder   kjell@ket.kth.se

Kjell Sjoberg 25 Feb 2012 6:22 AM

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