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Nicking Theory Featured in NY Times

Jim Squires wrote an interesting article that appeared in The New York Times over the weekend. Commenting on the newly-in-foal Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, "Breeders Chasing the Superhorse" references nicking theory several times in the piece. While the simplicity of Squires's nicking explanation is a bit misleading as he doesn't touch on the statistical background of TrueNicks, it's certainly nice to get a mention in such an esteemed publication.

Squires points out that TrueNicks is a sire line nicking program. Of course, since stallions have so many more offspring than do mares, sire line nicking is more statistically valid than dam line nicking would be. Furthermore, nicking is just one tool that breeders have at their fingertips, and an educated breeder considers many factors when planning matings, such as female family, produce history, conformation, racing performance, and market conditions—in addition to nicking.

The article's somewhat comical thesis is that racehorse breeding is tantamount to "equine alchemy," a romantic misnomer for something not fully understood. Thankfully, with continued equine genetic research, our industry is rapidly unraveling the mystery of why certain genetic combinations (nicks, for example) succeed more often than others. Stay tuned...

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