Everyone who has racehorses would like to have faster/sounder ones so I was interested to read through those studies. I was particularly interested in how a horse’s “speed” was being measured. I wasn’t entirely reassured by what I read. This is a quote from the 2nd link:
“The dataset used comprised 906 027 finishing time records by 101 257 different (offspring) horses running across 88 385 individual races in Great Britain between 1996 and 2019. This only included races run ‘on the flat’ (as opposed to races involving jumps) and on turf (i.e. grass, not all-weather track surfaces). Finishing times were converted to running speed to provide a more intuitive performance trait.”
The idea of converting finishing times to running speed doesn’t in any way take into account what the horse was being asked to do by the jockey–nor the distance the horse was running. Six furlong races are almost always run at a faster rate of speed than mile ones. Horses racing a mile almost always cover that distance faster than ones racing 1 1/4m. By definition 6f horses are “faster” than those who race longer distances. That doesn’t seem to have been taken into consideration.
Another interesting quote (from the first link):
“…previous studies have suggested that first-born foals tend to be lighter and perform less well than subsequent offspring from the same mother.”
That may be true in Britain where the articles originated, but it isn’t true in the U.S. First foals are sometimes smaller than subsequent offspring, but (here) they are often the best performer that a mare ever produces. (This may be due to opportunity, in that a race mare’s first foal often has a higher stud fee than her subsequent foals until she has had a chance to prove herself.)
To me, it seems like the studies are more interesting than conclusive. But I’ll be watching my own mares in the future to see if they prove true.