Members’ Questions: Breeding Terms

One of the goals of the Club is to demystify racing to the best extent that we can.  In order to do this we will answer as many questions as we can from members about racing and related issues like wagering and breeding every few weeks or so, depending upon demand.  This week we received a question about breeding terms.

Here is the question:

Can you explain what “nicking” data is? Also “broodmare and broodmare sire’…
Hopefully others in the club are a little confused on the meanings of these as well

The best explanation I found for nicking was right off the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association website by the esteemed pedigree analyst and author Frank Mitchell from an article he wrote for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.

“If it worked for them, it will work for me. That pretty much sums up nicking – the theory of copying the mating of a successful horse to produce another successful horse. Nicking theorists believe there is a benefit to the crossing of certain horses or sire lines and successful crosses can be repeated.”

To relate this a bit to everyday life, we all know of highly successful athletes.  Let’s take a look at the brothers Manning.  Peyton and Eli are both highly skilled and highly successful NFL quarterbacks; same for the sisters Williams in tennis.  Even better examples may be cousins, since they share the same lines but not the exact same parentage.  However, we all know of highly successful people that do not have nearly as successful relatives, so family traits mixed together – nicked, if you will – alone cannot predict success.  Other factors such as physical compatibility, racing styles and temperament also come into play.  Nicking alone will not guarantee you success on the racetrack.

A couple of sites to learn more about nicking are True Nicks and Werkhorse.

A broodmare is, quite simply, a mare used for breeding.  When you look at you past performances, to the right of the horses name you see the color, sex, age and month of birth for the horse (B. f. 3 (May)).  Directly under that you see the sire (father) and then dam (mother).  The dam is a broodmare.

In parenthesis next to the dam is another name.  This is the sire of the dam or, the broodmare sire.  Some sires have developed a reputation for producing mares that produce excellent offspring which is why this information is included.  2012’s leading broodmare sires in terms of earnings were: Storm Cat, Danehill, Deputy Minister, Sadler’s Wells and AP Indy.

I hope this information helps.  Please keep the questions coming, the odds are if you have a question, someone else does as well!