When a nick rating is not always an Affirmatif

8 thoughts on “When a nick rating is not always an Affirmatif”

  1. Yes, a good mating is a many-splendored thing, and the design and care that goes into carefully developed Thoroughbred operations such as the Wertheimers is the result of many committed individuals. Then we see quality results such as this promising individual.

    Best of luck to them all.

  2. Oddly enough, I’ve just written an article on studying “good horses bred on a bad nick” While nick ratings are generally a very good reflection of trends and tendencies, sometimes looking at the pedigree of a good winner (or winners) bred on a cross that has a moderate nick rating can reveal compelling patterns elsewhere in the pedigree.

    One example would be another Wertheimer-bred, Goldikova. At the time of her conception, the Anabaa/Blushing Groom cross had produced only two black-type winners, despite quite a lot of opportunity. However the two good horses bred on the cross were out of mares by a stallion who was bred on an identical cross to the dam of Goldikova, so were informative “exceptions to the rule.”

    As far as the Unbridled’s Song cross with Wichitoz goes: whichever system you used, if you studied the best winners bred on the cross lists they provide, you would have noted Songandaprayer (also by Unbridled’s Song out of a mare by a son of Exclusive Native), which would at least have given encouragement that the cross COULD produce a good winner. Combined with the compelling evidence from the female line, the mating begins to look worth the chance. This is particularly so, as per your article, the chances of Unbridled/Unbridled’s Song crossing with Exclusive Native line mares of quality has been very limited.

    This particular branch of the family, is, I think, dominated by the In Reality influence. Ruby Slippers, the dam of Wichitoz, was not a typical Nijinsky II, being a very quick dirt sprinter. When I worked for Mr. Firestone, I recommended breeding her to Fappiano (partly because of some tie-ups between Fappiano and Nijinsky II, partly because of In Reality). The mare was sold of out of Mr. Firestone’s Catoctin Thoroughbred Partnerships, carrying the Fappiano foal, who turned out to be Rubiano (who wasn’t exactly a physically typical Fappiano either). Emulating that mating with Unbridled cam up with Tap Your Heels, a minor stakes winner and dam of Tapit.

    As you say, this is very like the pedigree of Political Force, who is out of a mare by Ruby Slipper’s half-brother Glitterman. There has been very little chance for Unbridled/Unbridled’s Song with mares by Glitterman or his sire Dewan, so it’s not a high-rated nick, but again the In Reality influnce came to tell. Oddly enough, there is a stakes winner by a son of Rubiano out of a mare by a son of Exclusive Native, so a similar background.

    Incidentally, the Wertheimers – who have, of course been breeding good horses for decades – made the decision to purchase Wichitoz, to add this emerging family to their broodmare band. It seems that she might turn out to be a very nice mare – her only starter prior to Affirmatif is the Forest Wildcat colt, Chitoz. He was beaten inches in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at two, and broke a track-record in a turf sprint stakes at Monmouth last year.

  3. Attention readers (especially my 12-year-old baseball team): This is a Joe Cowles warning. He’s attempting to post profanities on here. The spam filter is catching most of it, but some of it on time delay. I apologize for this.

  4. Your’re right, Sid, that the eNicks rating is based on the Unbridled’s Song/Exclusive Native cross, as it should be, but, based on numbers I use for my consulting, I doubt if there have been enough runners from that cross to satisfy the requirements of the competing system. More likely, it’s based on the Unbridled’s Song/Raise a Native cross, for now.

    Nick ratings relating to an ancestor like Raise a Native, whose descent is highly differentiated, are going to be low to middling, for the most part, because, while the stallion may do well with certain branches, he is unlikely to do well with all or even most branches. When going back to the foundation ancestor, therefore, the effects of the variety of branches working against one another is going to suppress, rather than reveal, any otherwise notable effects.

    The eNicks system is equipped with structure rules that determine its behavior in regard to any given sire line, and those rules are used to identify the most relevant information pertaining to the cross. The eNicks system would never search Raise a Native when the mare traces through Exclusive Native. It has a rule to prevent that. What happens in the present case is that the system looks for the occurrence of at least two SWs by Unbridled’s Song with Affirmed and then with Exclusive Native. It doesn’t find two, but it does find one–Songandaprayer. So it bases the nick rating on that one SW, following the principle that, even if there is only one SW from the cross that really says something about the case at hand, it’s better to know about that than to know how the stallion has done with all of Raise a Native line. That’s how the eNicks system resolves the question of the Unbridled’s Song/Exclusive Native cross. To the eNicks system, there’s no such thing as an Unbridled’s Song/Raise a Native cross.

  5. Sid

    Affirmatif reminds me of the pedigree of his own grandsire in construction in that his broodmare sire just looks as though he came along for the ride. How many pedigree advisors suggest that Le Fabuleux played a vital part in Unbridled?

  6. All very good points, gentlemen…thanks for the comments….Byron, one day I want to tell you an interesting story about the Le Fabuleux part of the pedigree and Nerud’s thought process behind it……Roger, I like the idea behind stopping it at Exclusive Native because Raise a Native brings in different aptitudes in Mr. P and Alydar, for example…had a conversation about that with Alan today, in fact, and he doesn’t disagree with the thought process though he admitted that adding the “subjective” element wasn’t part of his original concept of an objective system.

  7. Good point about Le Fabuleux, Byron. I find that, when I’m working on an Unbridled-line mare, I’m more interested in how a stallion has done with Le Fabuleux than with Fappiano. I’m noting definite indications of a swerve on the part of Unbridled line, and I’ve long thought that it must be attributable to Le Fabuleux.

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