To kick off the 2014 blog series for myself, I thought it would be great to discuss one of those topics in racing that is much talked about yet foreign to many people: the actual breeding of a race horse and how it affects the parimutuel wagering side of thoroughbred racing.
Breeding is a massive topic, so for my purposes I have cut my discussion on breeding down to a three-week series. Part 1 will discuss current Manitoba stallions. Part 2 will discuss the North American stallions that are commonly seen in Manitoba, and Part 3 will debate how to use this information to help your wagering.
The Manitoba-bred program has diminished over the past few years, leaving only a handful of breeders and stallions. In my eyes, five stallions are left as significant influences on the Manitoba-bred program: Whiskey Wisdom, Battle Cat, Magoo’s Magic, Going Commando and Ran South. Quickly I will run through some strengths and weaknesses of each of the five stallions and how they relate to wagering at Assiniboia Downs.
Whiskey Wisdom is a dark bay stallion now standing in Alberta, but during his time in Manitoba he sired some very nice horses including 2013 J.W. Sifton winner Divine Wisdom. Whiskey Wisdom was ranked 39th in Canada in 2013 in earnings and his progeny tend to be of longer build and prefer a route of ground. Whiskey Wisdom won the Fayette Handicap-G3 as a 4-year-old and has many route influences in his pedigree from the classic Nearco and Hyperion lines. The Nearco line is the most dominant in all of racing and includes Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Bold Ruler, Ruffian and Northern Dancer among many others.
Battle Cat is a son of the legendary Storm Cat and shares many traits with the famed Kentucky stallion. Battle Cat’s progeny tend to be quicker but also tend to have long necks and long strides. A Girl’s Gotta Do was Battle Cat's best in 2013 and Battle Cat was the Manitoba Stallion of the Year in 2008 and 2009. Sons of Storm Cat have a tendency to pass on the attitude of the Storm Cat family, which includes a mean demeanor and smaller build compared to some other sire lines. Battle Cat progeny tend to be later developers that often show major improvement at ages three and four. Normally Battle Cat progeny are aggressive and great competitors.
Magoo’s Magic is a stallion that has more Canadian pedigree to him through his sire Awesome Again, which comes from the Northern Dancer line through Vice Regent and Deputy Minister. Magoo’s Magic progeny tend to be fast. Many can dash through a quick three-eighths but are yet unproven at a route of ground. Magoo’s Magic progeny tend to be pretty horses with huge thick back ends that look like good engines. Led in 2013 by Heavenhelpusall and already represented in 2014 by winner Lia Rocks, progeny of Magoo’s Magic tend to be overlooked on the tote board, but when they get loose on the lead they can pay off quite handsomely.
Ran South is another stallion that provides value for bettors. Flying under the radar, Ran South finished 94th in Canada in 2013 by earnings, led by multiple winner Prairie Eclipse. In 2014 Ran South will be represented once again by Prairie Eclipse and also by Wouf de Douf. Ran South's progeny tend to be sprinters with slighter builds and early speed. This bodes well for Assiniboia Downs, as most races are sprints and speed wins a high percentage of races. Ran South was stakes-placed in the eastern United States and passes on a different line of breeding, coming from the Buckpasser line. The Buckpasser line features numerous good milers and tactical speed horses.
Last but certainly not least, Going Commando has been the leading sire in Manitoba for the past few years. He was 65th in earnings in 2013 but 50th in 2012. Going Commando has sired stakes winners Danger Rules and She’s Regal. This could be another good year for Going Commando, as Nose the Pose and Jet Again look to be major players in the 3-year-old Manitoba-bred division. Going Commando comes from the Unbridled’s Song line, a speed influence that has also been able to pass on some stamina, allowing Danger Rules to win the J.W. Sifton in 2012 at nine furlongs. Many of Going Commando’s progeny can be recognized by their white blazes and broad chests. Currently the top stallion in Manitoba, 2014 could be another banner year for Going Commando.
So concludes Part 1 of our look at breeding and betting. The Manitoba stallions all have pros and cons, and knowing them can make you a better handicapper.