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Frankel or Bullet Train: Who's the Better Value?

With today's news that Frankel's three-quarter brother Bullet Train (GB) (TrueNicks,SRO) is heading to Wintergreen Stallion Station for the 2013 season, it means that the siblings will begin their stud careers under very different circumstances. Frankel (by Galileo) will stand for £125,000 at Juddmonte's Banstead Manor Stud in England, while Bullet Train (by Sadler's Wells) will stand in Kentucky for $7,500. Both are out of the Danehill mare Kind.

Another set of brothers standing for disparate fees in 2013 are Ashford Stud's Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO), a two-time leading sire, and his full brother Freud (TrueNicks,SRO), who stands at Sequel Stallions and is one of the top sires in New York. The two stallions are by Storm Cat out of the Rahy mare Mariah's Storm.

Two more brothers at stud are Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO), the perennial leading sire standing at Taylor Made, and Spanish Steps (TrueNicks,SRO), sire of 2012 turf star Little Mike standing at Lake Shore Farm in Indiana. They are both by Unbridled out of the Caro mare Trolley Song.

Finally, consider half brothers Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Deputy Minister), whose top 2012 runner was Game On Dude, and Macho Uno (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Holy Bull), whose Mucho Macho Man barely missed winning the Breeders' Cup Classic. Both stallions stand at Adena Springs and were produced from the Blushing Groom mare Primal Force.

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46 Comments:

It is beyond belief how a KY breeder has not gone and gotten Freud from NY and brought him to KY.  He has shown beyond a doubt that he is a very good stallion.  He does not get the best mares in NY and yet he is constantly siring excellent horses.  With the better mares in KY, I can see him stepping way up and becoming a top sire.  The same for Spanish Steps.  With better mares, he could also move way up and become a much better sire.  

Southbendfarm 06 Dec 2012 12:40 PM

In the case of full brothers most of the times it all depends on circunstances.Unbridle Song since he was a two years old everything went first class.Racing,Breeding.The other one has not been as lucky.And because they are full brothers it does not mean that they should reproduce themselves igually.

edrul427 06 Dec 2012 12:58 PM

In these cases one should always consider the "other" values, those of the sale ring. On most of these big-name brothers the name alone will add significant value when the bidding starts. It isn't just which one will or can sire the better racehorse. Though for the same pairs, the bigger-name brother has already proven his superior racing and/or siring ability and attracted better quality mares. O to have a good mare and the stud fee for any one of these!!!

longtimeracingfan 06 Dec 2012 1:20 PM

good horses make good trainers and good jockeys

GOOD MARES MAKE GOOD STALLIONS

MARC 06 Dec 2012 1:23 PM

I guess the optimal result for Frankel/Bullet Train would be a Sadler's Wells/Fairy King outcome.

Most modestly-performed full brothers to good/great racehorses and sires fade into oblivion (Red Ryder, Eagle Eyed, Lion Cavern, Cahill Road, etc) with the noted recent exceptions of Fairy King (although his brother Tate Gallery was a bust), Saint Ballado and Vice Regent.

Byron Rogers 06 Dec 2012 1:23 PM

I'll play, Ian, but I don't think we'll get very far.

The history of the breed paints a rather cloudy picture re-the stallion merits of full, 3/4, or 1/2 male siblings to prominent male racehorses. The examples you chose tended to emphasize somewhat the rosey side, but there have been far more failures to temper any optimistic hopes. Take for example Swaps and Mr. Prospector's three full-brothers, and Man O' War's two full brothers. None amounted to much at stud, and some of them displayed a similar racing potential to Bullet Train. Also, it could be argued (and, here we go with my "blasphemy") that all three (Swaps, Mr. P., and Man O' War) were phenotypically (maybe I'll lose some of the backlash by employing this term) equal or superior to Frankel. Yes, on occasion the weaker perfoming full-sibling has outperformed their brother at stud, but I doubt any more often than can be said for the breed in general. That said, "paper" pedigree does certainly count for something, but there is so much variation due to the "spin" of the genetic wheel. The observed phenotype (displayed racing ability, physique, etc.) can often be a valuable clue in assessing true genotypic worth, and shouldn't be downplayed when a situation such as this arises.    

sceptre 06 Dec 2012 1:40 PM

Marc

"Good mares make good stallions".....really. I wonder if Dynaformer, Malibu Moon, Unusual Heat, Kris S., Ahonoora, Sir Tristram and a host of other stallions that made it from a lack of good mares would agree.

Byron Rogers 06 Dec 2012 3:43 PM

Marc,

Absolutely correct!

big john t 06 Dec 2012 3:50 PM

Byron - Smiling Tiger would like to have a word with you - behind the barn. . . .

kat 06 Dec 2012 4:17 PM

sceptre, in regards to your argument about brothers - Man O'War and his brothers were an example that came to mind, Tiznow and Tizbud are two recent examples. But, could it also be that the more accomplished brother gets the more accomplished mares and the lesser gets the lesser and so produces to their level? While Frankel and Bullet Train are unknowns, Freud, Spanish Steps and macho Uno have produced stakes winners and might produce more if the level of the mares they were offered improved. Bullet Train might have done much better than his record would indicate if he had been trained and raced differently. As it was, he was used for a specific purpose which he fulfilled every bit as well as his brother.

Karen in Indiana 06 Dec 2012 4:24 PM

Karen in Indiana:

Yes, I'm sure there have been some (more than we presently know) lesser racing accomplished full, 3/4, or 1/2 siblings that could have equalled or exceeded at stud their well known relative had they received similar support. Same can also be said for some other stallions who are not related to prominent male runners. But, if you study this sport for enough years, I think you'll conclude that, far more often than not, the better phenotype possessed the better genotype. This stands to reason, because the genotype does, to degree, influence the phenotype. This becomes a bit more evident when you study female full-siblings as producers. Oftentimes the opportunity afforded them is far more similar than is the situation with full sibling males (sires). Look, right now I can point to three very unsung stallions that I'd prefer to many, if not most, standing in KY. One was unraced (but now has a stud record), one raced but once (but stands his first yr. in 2013), and the other failed to garner black type (and has only a handful of runners). But, to my mind, these are rare exceptions-and due to lack of opportunity will very likely never prove me right...No, I don't at all see Bullet Train in that light, but that's just my take. By the way, instead of dwelling on his pacemaker efforts with Frankel, why not take a closer look at his form when not a pacemaker?    

sceptre 06 Dec 2012 5:59 PM

How do you guys think a Powerscourt (Sadlers Wells out of Rainbow Lake) mare would cross with Bullet Train?

Worksoplad 06 Dec 2012 6:00 PM

Karen-

It's just a minor point, but my admiration for Macho Uno compells me to object to your inference. Macho Uno is not an apt example of the half-sibling with far inferior racing credentials. Macho Uno was, himself, Champion Two-Year-Old. I am a great admirer of their (Awesome Again, Macho Uno) dam, Primal Force, and am not surprised that both are successful stallions. For that matter, one of the three "unsung" (mentioned earlier) is sired by Macho Uno.  

sceptre 06 Dec 2012 6:27 PM

Bullet Train will produce siblings better than himself as his racing record was not that brilliant.

Frankel will produce siblings worse than himself sice it was too great and incomparable.

Overall Frankel will be a better sire (and least he has a better options in quality mares). Just like his father - Galileo to Black Sam Bellamy.

Bonlee 06 Dec 2012 7:38 PM

I can only echo the words of Wintergreen when they talk of

Bullet Train.At 7,500 dollars and the pedigree he has he is

outstanding value.As for Frankel,like all great racehorses

before him the best of mares will be sent to him.It is no different from the time Secretariat retired from the racetrack.If he can go on to sire a horse like the great Man

,O War did in the American Triple Crown winner War Admiral

I would be more than happy with that.

John T 06 Dec 2012 10:16 PM

"I have seen Bend Or given full credit for Ormonde while Lily Agnes is passed with silence. Doncaster is extolled to

the skies as Stockwell's son and no attention paid to a mare

of grandeur of Rouge Rose. The sire line of Isinglas is praised up as though there have been no La Fleche and no Canterbury Pilgrim. Polymelus is passed on as typical of Cyllene without any acknowledgment of the influence of his Maternal line, that of Quiver, dam also of Lafleche"

Friedrich Becker 1936.

This argument is old. A father always want a son to continue

the line. (King to Prince) This thought was transfered to thorughbred breeding by the founding Father's of the breed.

The Queen was no good if no son was produced. Tell me was Pharos a better sire than his brother Fairway was Bulldog a better sire than Sir Gallahad.

Obmar 07 Dec 2012 12:32 AM

Obmar... The stallion standing at the Eaton Stud in the 1880's -- 1890's.. in the name of Bend Or.. was in fact Tadcaster the son of Clemence by Newminster, he was the sire of Ormonde, etc.. etc..

The actual sons of Rouge Rose, Bend Or and Rougemont, do not appear in the pedigrees of good horses.. although her five daughters created one of the very high class female families in the Studbook, now known as 1k.

Hal Dane. 07 Dec 2012 9:16 AM

Obmar -  Bull Dog was NOT a better sire than Sir Gallahad III. Sir Gallahad III was leading sire in the USA 4 times to Bull Dog's once. Sir Gallahad III was leading sire of broodmares 12 times to Bull Dog's 3. Sir Gallahad III sired a Triple Crown winner and other classic winners; Bull Dog sired none. The only way in which Bull Dog excelled Sir Gallahad III was in that he sired a son who was himself a leading sire, Bull Lea. Is that what you are trying to say?

Pedigree Ann 07 Dec 2012 9:57 AM

Definition of Bloodstock Crapshoot: "Breeding the best to the best and hoping for the best."

Definition of Bloodstock Dumb Luck: Breed to what you can afford...

Quilla 07 Dec 2012 12:19 PM

Sceptre.....until I read your posts, I have never seen anyone else post anything on Bloodhorse blogs and use the terms phenotype and genotype.  I applaud you!  To many people breed to a stallion and do not consider the physical makeup of the stallion to the mare.  They only look at the paper pedigree.  Genotype only gets you so far.  The phenotype is what makes the racehorse.  Excellent post!!  

Southbendfarm 07 Dec 2012 12:50 PM

Southbendfarm:

Thanks for the compliment, but you'll probably want to withdraw it after reading the following:

The terms genotype and phenotype have been used often by many posters on this blog, and others. If you look back (older blogs) you'll notice that, for example, Ian, Alan, and Byron employ the terms. More importantly, I think you've somewhat misunderstood what I was attempting to convey re-phenotype vs genotype. For one, the "paper pedigree" is not the genotype. It is nothing more than but another hint (small piece of evidence) at what is the true genotype (genome/genetic composition). Take, for example, two full-siblings. They share indentical "paper pedigrees", but can possess quite different genetic compositions. But it IS the genotype which essentially MAKES the racehorse. At present there is the capability to observe (scientifically) much of the genotype, but we are still a long way off from deciphering all its "language". The phenotype is the resultant product of both the genotype (causes the lion's share of the product) and the environment. It is the observable end product. The word observable here includes everything that can be seen by the naked eye PLUS anything that "physically" exists, but for, perhaps, the genome itself.-(Now that we're able to "observe" the genome, the terms' definitions may need to be modified.)... So, for example, the racehorse's outer physique is part of his phenotype; its observed athletic prowess is another component of its phenotype. But it is not the various pieces of phenotype that are transmitted to the next generation, but rather the genes that essentially created them. This might help to further explain: It is quite possible that two individuals may share some identical phenotypic characterists-say eye color for example-yet not posses the identical genes for creating that characteristic...Two horses may evidence nearly identical racing ability, yet have quite different genetic compositions. Due to those genetic differences, one may have a far greater potentiality (due to its genetic makeup-its geneotype) to sire/produce the higher quality racehorse.      

sceptre 07 Dec 2012 4:05 PM

Going strictly by pedigree and the level at which they were campaigned, both Frankel and Bullet Train appear to have a better than average chance of attracting the quality of broodmares to make them very successful stallions. Frankel, carrying the "Urban Sea" factor in his pedigree, again has a marked edge over his 3/4 brother Bullet Train. His edge is further enhanced by the fact that his sire Galileo has already stamped himself as an outstanding sire of sires on the rise.

Ranagulzion 07 Dec 2012 5:00 PM

The analysis of the quality thoroughbred in terms of phenotype vis a vis genotype has its merit but is overrated by some in the context of this blog since the quality of a horse on the race track doesn't always translate into the same quality in the breeding shed. What make a horse a monster on the track yet a dud at stud while another is a moderate performer yet outstanding at stud? Also, what makes some better producers of sires and others of broodmares irrespective of their race record?  The much scoffed at "paper pedigree" still stands up as strong as any penotype/genotype analysis in making educated guesses on breeding IMO.

Pedigree Ann,

I find your contributions to be consistently insightful and informative. If you have information on the phenotype comparison between Sir Gallahad and Bull Dog that would be very helpful here, I think.  

Ranagulzion 07 Dec 2012 6:23 PM

Ranagulzion:

I coud probably leave this to others, but in case they dont-

It is way too premature to assert that-on pedigree alone- Frankel (owing to being sired by Galileo who is out of Urban Sea) has a "marked edge" over Bullet Train (sired by Sadler's Wells). For your remark to be potentially accurate would require that Galileo would one day be judged the markedly superior sire to Sadler's Wells. In view of Sadler's Wells' total body of work, I doubt that day will ever come. In any event, the present evidence fails to support your level of certainty.

sceptre 07 Dec 2012 6:46 PM

When Mill Reef retired he was bred to some of the best mares in the American and English Stud Books.  Result one flop after another. Gold needs an alloy.  When bred to mares of humbler origins he started to show his merit as a sire, winning the Derby with Shirley Heights. Frankel will obviously attract the best mares in Europe and may well exhibit the same tendencies.  Bullet Train will have to do it the hard way, compounded by the fact that his pedigree does not lend itself to American dirt racing.  This will seriously effect the quality of mare he attracts here and the opportunity his stock will have to shine in conditions suitable for them.  I hope Juddmonte shows a little faith and sends him a few good mares.  He would be much better off standing in South America where he would be appreciated.

Manicomio Tom 07 Dec 2012 7:00 PM

Ranagulzion-

Your last post became visible after my earlier remarks to you.

It pains me to say, but you may be doing others a disservice by posting (with conviction, no less) about matters you obviously know so little about. You need to first grasp what stimulated the retort before offering it.  

sceptre 07 Dec 2012 7:07 PM

Ranagulzion, Dynaformer is a strong answer to your question. An unimpressive race record, but outstanding at stud - making an impact nationally and internationally and across many sports since he was a leading steeplechase sire as well as flat racing.

And i like seeing Summer Squall or Tabasco Cat as a broodmare sire, but they weren't all that successful as a sire of sires.

Karen in Indiana 07 Dec 2012 11:22 PM

Snappish Steps was hurt as a 2 year old why he never made it to track look at him he is as well put together as his brother and Frued is a well balanced example of his pedigree give them the same book of mares and you will end up with same results but depends if your breeding to race to breeding to sell and if in a state bred sale or wide open national auction

Val 08 Dec 2012 12:53 AM

Snappish Steps was hurt as a 2 year old why he never made it to track look at him he is as well put together as his brother and Frued is a well balanced example of his pedigree give them the same book of mares and you will end up with same results but depends if your breeding to race to breeding to sell and if in a state bred sale or wide open national auction

Val 08 Dec 2012 1:48 AM

Pedigree Ann.. When Sir Gallahad came to America.. his two brothers Bull Dog and Quartre Bras were not foaled yet..

They were quite fast 2-y-o's in France, both coming to the USA, Quatre Bras sired the Travers winner Eurasian.

Their dam at the age of 23 foaled the Epsom Derby winner Bois Roussel, and she was also the dam of the Grand Prix de Paris winner and champion sire Admiral Drake.

Hal Dane. 08 Dec 2012 9:25 AM

Pedigree Ann, I'm saying Bull Dog was the better because the fillies Sir Gallahad produced were better then his sons. The line was at its end when Bull Lea's son Citation failed as a sire.  

Obmar 08 Dec 2012 10:07 AM

How about half brothers Ghostzapper and City Zip out of the Relauanch mare Baby Zip. Both of these stallions have had tremendous years and have many productive years ahead of them. Or the trio produced by Prospectors Delite: Mineshaft, Rock Slide and Monashee Mountain.

Brigade 08 Dec 2012 2:25 PM

Ranagulzion:

For info only.

Here is a recent comparison-Galileo v Sadlers Wells.

Have fun.

www.sportingpost.co.za/.../here-and-elsewhere-33

JerseyBoy 08 Dec 2012 4:11 PM

Sceptre,

Regarding my opinion that Frankel has a marked edge over Bullet Train on the basis of pedigree, you seem to think that Sadler's Wells outstanding accomplishments as a sire cannot be surpassed by Galileo.  You wrote that "the present evidence fails to support your level of certainty".  Well I have news for you Bro.  Galileo has arguably a stouter pedigree than his sire, Sadler's Wells and he was by far a superior racer on the track. Further more, he has gotten off to at least as good a start as his famous sire did and it is without dispute that Sadler's Well never produced a son of the calibre of Frankel in his total body of work (Galileo has only just begun ...think about that!).

Perhaps as the expert on phenotype/genotype analysis you could submit a comparitive analysis on both Sadler's Wells and Galileo to support your position ...but I wont hold my breath.

Ranagulzion 08 Dec 2012 5:44 PM

Jersey Boy,

That sportingpost article was indeed great fun to read. Good job my erstwhile friend & foe (LOL). The very informative and well researched contents of that article should at least temper the arrogance-masked-ignorance of Sceptre for a season ...dare we hope?

Ranagulzion 09 Dec 2012 5:26 PM

This is fun. The soccer matches are over for the day.

Ranagulzion:

You are on to something.  But I take a different approach. I do not question the usefulness of genotype/phenotype. Rather I accept that genotype/phenotype is science and embrace it fully, always did.

However I focus on the two main characteristics one desires in the thoroughbred - speed and stamina.

These characteristics are present in all horses to varying degrees.

Here is a line taken from an abstract. It is put here purely to show that the technique for identifying potential speed levels is being studied:

“These findings clearly indicate that variation at the MSTN gene influences speed in Thoroughbred horses.” (URL below).

I take it that the findings are based on proper research.

Now I ask the users of the two terms how they are able to determine the genotype of a specific horse. Do they obtain the information from a test? If they do not, then, when it comes to speed in the genotype, they are in no better position than the guy who bases his opinion by looking at a horse’s past performance and pedigree.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.../22016373

JerseyBoy 09 Dec 2012 6:25 PM

Jersey Boy, my buddy! (LOL)

You are smarter than I've given you credit for in our past skirmishes. I like the angle of your argument but I think that you've misread my attitude to the scientific dimension. In my own defence, I haven't altogether discounted the relevance of evaluating the quality of the thoroughbred based upon phenotype/genotype analysis. Instead of pretending to be a know-it-all I'm eager to learn a thing or two inspite of many decades in the sport.  However I do have enough experience to not be overawed by those who brandish esoteric terminology as some sort of superior thoroughbred breeding dogma without supporting their dogma/fixation with some reasonable analysis or scientific facts.  

I applaud your contribution to this discussion Bro.

Ranagulzion 09 Dec 2012 10:01 PM

Just a couple of thoughts after perusing the comments.

JerseyBoy---There is a test for speed that is being marketed. Remember the discussion on Steve Haskin's "It's All in the Blood" blog? I think several performance genetics companies are currently performing these. It is my impression that the tests are based on the MSTN variants, although I'm not positive. Dr. Emmeline Hill's team conducted the NIH study you linked above, and she is a member of one of the performance companies. I have no idea how accurate the testing is and am not promoting it.

Karen in Texas 10 Dec 2012 3:03 PM

Ranagulzion:

Thank for your comment.

By the way, I have only one foe-Father Time. I give him all the love and devotion I can muster. Yet he folds me closer to his breast every day.

JerseyBoy 10 Dec 2012 5:21 PM

Karen in Texas:

Thank you Karen. My concern is when a person  says that A is superior to B, whether that person is basing his opinion on such a test. If he is, he should say so.

JerseyBoy 10 Dec 2012 5:29 PM

Who cares.

Frankel ran against a bunch of schlubs his whole life.

Secretariat 10 Dec 2012 6:53 PM

It will be interesting to see how the Barbaro brothers do at stud. Their racing careers were kinda a disappointment, at least to me anyways. I think that they would have performed a little better had they been able to develop physically and mentally a little more before they started racing. I just don't feel that they were campaigned as well as they should have been. I felt that the boys had way more potential than they showed or were given the opportunity. Hopefully they do better at stud.

happyticket 10 Dec 2012 9:03 PM

Secretariat,

shame someone with this great username knows very little about horse racing.Would he be so agreeable if I was to say a similar thing about recent Champions Zenyatta and Rachael Alexander.Doubted.Embrace brilliance,class,pedigree and sometimes freakish talents in our sport it's what keeps the dream alive for us all.To answer a question with a question I wonder if Bullet Train has done enough to actually stand at Stud?

The Student 20 Dec 2012 8:13 AM

Hey Secretariat....we ran against a bunch of schlubs ourselves.....so ZIP IT!. Heck even I faded in the Belmont and was never seen again.  Say hi to Onion....

Sham 23 Dec 2012 9:24 PM

Hello Sham,

How are you? Maybe Secretariat raced against schlubs. Maybe not? Who knows? But if the other horses were schlubs, it didn't seem to phase Secretariat. Sec had a different point of reference, he didn't seem to care about the other horses - Maybe he had Equine Asbergers? He tended to kick into a higher gear, and then he kept running. Yeah, he lost to Onion, and a couple of other horses. Certainly Man O War's brilliant record, 19-1, is better. Honestly, I think you, Sham, were a great racehorse, and regret you don't get the respect you deserve. But this is key: none of this matters. Secretariat performed like no other racehorse; totally unprecedented, he was a Force of Nature. There are many extraordinary racehorses. I really love Dr. Fager, who was brilliant. No one - past, present, & probably future - could have beaten Sec at the '73 Belmont at 1.5 miles. Sec had racing performances & a career that won't be seen again. Period. He's the King.

gloee 10 Jan 2013 8:32 PM

Frankel will start his new career as a stallion on Feb 14th which is very appropiate as it is Valentines Day. I shall miss him on the racetrack as it was a wonderful 3 years but the time has come to see what he can do in the breeding shed.

John T 16 Jan 2013 8:52 PM

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