No Preakness for Rich Strike


Compare Dark Star to Native Dancer.
And then Swaps and Nashua.

Of course no one has forgotten him but he was born 61 years ago. Things have changed a bit. That’s why @EventerAJ’s original list started in 1991.


Good points. Truthfully, he’s still eligible for a nw2 other than allowance. Tough to run a racetrack these days when people with a fit horse with no announced physical issues decide they’d rather watch their horse train than race. I know that’s a contrary opinion but I have my own personal experience in that regard.


He won the Derby and the Preakness and went on to sire other winners who also went on to be successful at stud.
It doesn’t matter how many years ago he won. Just look at the published articles comparing Rich Strike to Canonero II and 1913 winner Donerail.

Then look at Never Bend, who did not win the Derby but did sire Mill Reef who sired Shirley Heights.

Camelot tried his best in 2012 but was beaten by Encke. Encke was one of the seven horses, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, that tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2013. The trainer was banned as a result. He now has his licence back but isn’t training in Britain.

Camelot is an excellent Coolmore stallion, siring 45 group/stakes winners around the world.

Looking at 1991 to present day is going back 30 years. That’s a fair representative sample as is.


Bit of an arbitrary cut-off date, IMO. 30 years isn’t even 1/3. I get limiting one’s winners to years when the Derby was run at a mile and a quarter on the first Saturday in May (in which case of course 2020’s winner can’t be included) but why 30 years? Why not 50? 25?
Why not limit to just the grey winners?
Look at Determine, who went on to sire Decidedly. Then compare and contrast them with Native Dancer’s presence in pedigrees.

If you would care to research and present the data for all stallions who won the Derby since 1875 you are welcome to do so. As it is you are cherry picking a few names. Do the research on them all if it suits you.

Looking at that list of stallions since 1991 is a decent sample to demonstrate that a KD win is not a predictor of success in the breeding shed. Why would it be? It is one race.


In the last 20 years of Epsom Derby winners there are at least five good sires including Galileo who must rate super sire status, See the Stars, New Approach, Golden Horn, Camelot and lesser sires such as Authorized who sired six group winners before being sold to the Turkish Jockey Club. The (Epsom) Derby still makes stallions.

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Pop quiz: what is different about breeding thoroughbreds today and in modern times vs. 35+ years ago?


Two guesses:
(And these are truly guesses–I am not a breeder or a trainer)

  1. Breeding is done for the commercial market, not for the Old Money who summered in Saratoga.
  2. Breeding is done for early success–two year olds going spring distances.
    And I think the two might be related.

Genuinely interested in hearing responses from those more knowing.


The Two Thousand Guineas, not the One Thousand Guineas.

So, what suddenly happened in 1991 that changed racing and breeding overnight?

Stallions also cover MANY more mares than they did 50yrs ago. (Which is what makes Northern Dancer’s progeny accomplishments so amazing.) Stud books of 45 mares per year, versus 200+ in current times.

Having 400 foals on the ground in 2 crops can make or break a stud career quickly (while cashing in on profitable first/second year fees), which has led to several farms (Winstar in particular) dumping stallions ridiculously early. Breeders count on the “shiny new toy! Next hot sire!” craze at the sales, and flock to new stallions each season, leaving 3rd/4th year sires with lesser books. In older times, buyers wanted a “sure thing” racehorse, and may have preferred older, proven sires. Now, it’s harder to get “proven” when a stallion gets shipped to Turkey just as his 3yos begin to run.


I picked 1991 (and 30 yrs) because it is within the trend of modern TB breeding/selling/racing and because I remember watching those Derbies on TV. Going farther back than 1980 is comparing apples to watermelons in the commercial breeding market.


An interesting commentary on the Northern Dancer progeny. There is a suggestion here that it can lead to more fragile horses-- although-- I am not convinced by the examples. It ignores the fact that racing breakdowns occur for reasons other than being related to Northern Dancer, thin shelly hooves can be due to environmental causes and not genetics such as early shoeing. I would want more science and data behind the commentary to give this any credence.
But it does point to the need to understand the consequences of close line breeding in any particular line.

2 Likes and another commentary which includes discussion on inbreeding and Northern Dancer. I haven’t read the full report ( about to) and always consider the source of information-- perhaps this will have some more hard data behind it. It draws some interesting conclusions about UK racing-- perhaps an interesting comparison to the US racing scene.

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The more gradual transition from owner-breeders to commercial breeders and auction buyers, with more emphasis on quick results instead of the long game.


That article is about Native Dancer, not Northern Dancer. Two very different horses in size and type. Native Dancer is sire of Raise A Native, who may have a reputation for unsoundness (but IMO he is too far back in modern pedigrees to be responsible for much).

To my knowledge, Northern Dancer has no reputation one way or the other regarding soundness in this country. He was a smaller horse (about 15h) and most of his offspring were not large, either.

IMO, training, nutrition & environment have more impact on a horse’s soundness than its pedigree.


How relevant do you think an article from a self professed propaganda site from 2006 is to any topic?