Hunter and University of Louisville studies substantiate 2003 ATR project. Findings point to the importance of racing class in broodmare prospects.
Just over a decade ago, virtually all breeding theories were just that, theories. Little if any empirical research had been conducted to test prevailing ideologies. Most theory development and testing occurred in casual settings, with flawed methodologies, and was based on anecdotal evidence rather than statistically significant samplings. But over the last ten years, we’ve seen an explosion of empirical research in the bloodstock sciences. Access to large amounts of useful data via the internet has clearly been the driving force and is responsible for a proliferation of useful bloodstock theory. As a side effect, some of the more archaic and outlandish bloodstock theories have been rightfully marginalized to being nearly obsolete.
Few bloodstock topics have benefited from empirical research as much as predicting success in broodmare prospects, specifically, the role that racing class plays in predicting future success in the breeding shed. Our 2003 study, “The Myth of the Female Family” (click here to read the full article) was a groundbreaking effort in examining the relative importance of racing class in broodmare prospects compared to other variables, in this case, the strength of the female family. The study demonstrated that astute breeders would be well advised to consider a mare’s racing class, more so than her female family.
But like all useful theory, the ability to replicate a study’s findings is paramount. If subsequent research indicates a disconnect, the original research and it’s findings will undoubtedly come into question. Fortunately, our 2003 research is now being substantiated by independent projects, most notably Avalyn Hunter’s 2005 study “It’s Performers By A Head” and the University of Louisville’s 2010 project “Identifying Broodmare Prospects For An Elite Broodmare Band”.