breeding and ownership of racehorses, He was head of animal breeding and genetics and deputy It is the best doc .. price irrespective of birth date. At the. unknown quality using data from the Thoroughbred breeding industry, and then genetics, conformation, and performance of each freshman sire, at least to the as pedigree, gender, and date of birth, as well as macroeconomic variables, In a hedonic pricing model, the price of a good is a function of the quantity and. The super-studs: inside the secretive world of racehorse breeding The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian's sport coverage or they haven't had good yearling prices – just fade into the background. . For a start, it underplays the genetic importance of the dam (the distaff side of the pedigree).
Although the Thoroughbred horse breed does exhibit less genetic diversity than other breeds, the difference is modest. Trommershausen-Bowling and Clark reported that heterozygosity at 14 loci for Thoroughbred horses was 0. Clearly, the Thoroughbred horse has less variation for these blood-typing markers than other breeds but is not in danger of becoming deficient in variation for these types of genes for many generations.
However, only a few population geneticists really care about genetic diversity of blood group markers, and the central question remains: What is the extent of genetic diversity for racing performance among Thoroughbred horses? Previous Section Next Section Performance Limits During the s and s several studies reported the heritability of racing times, race performance win—place—showhandicapping, and money earned for Thoroughbred racehorses including and reviewed in Hintz ; Langlois ; Gaffney and Cunningham Measures of money won, performance, and handicap estimates did suggest heritability between 0.
In the most recent study, Gaffney and Cunningham investigated heritability of racing performance between and using the scores from a handicapping system called TIMEFORM ratings.
Cunningham noted that winning times had been especially static for distance races and suggested that a physiological limit might have been reached, for example, for dealing with lactic acid buildup in muscle during performance. Therefore, although horses exhibited genetic variation for racing performance and the population continued to exhibit genetic gain during the period of study, the best times did not improve.
Twenty-five years ago Secretariat set the record for the Kentucky Derby at 1: Is this the limit? In response, breeders and horse-racing enthusiasts state they pay little attention to winning times. Consequently, track surfaces are often treated to be softer, slower, and less likely to cause stress on the horse. Thus, modern racetracks may be slower than the tracks of 50 years ago.
In this regard, Jim Rooney pers. Indeed, one of the perplexing problems for the horseracing industry is that many horses never compete because of minor stress fractures, which eliminate horses from this competitive field, although they may become successful dressage or recreational riding horses Jeffcott et al.
Conformation defects, developmental bone diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, and other complex health problems interfere with the success of racehorses. These are problems that may require molecular and genomic approaches before their origins are understood and their prevention effected by selection or treatment.
Previous Section Next Section Horse Genetic Map With the strong tradition of genetics, it is ironic that the horse is among the last of the major domestic animal species to have a genetic map.
The horse industry is important for sports, entertainment, and recreation. The impact of the horse industry in the United States is large, including 6. Horses are traded internationally, and superior horses are sought widely by buyers from all around the world. This is a strong incentive for a concerted effort to understand the genetics of horses. A town of nightclubs and early-morning gallops, with the same very thin men sometimes managing to attend both.
And certainly the only place where I have ever seen, in a bookshop in the high street, a calendar devoted to ferrets. It is a depressing town in many ways, where stable staff on the minimum wage service horses worth hundreds of thousands for men and I suppose a few women worth millions, or billions in the case of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai.
In one sense, he is ruler of Newmarket, too, with his vast Darley stud farm and clutch of subsidiary studs, stretching across 2,plus acres. Without Sheikh Mo's millions, Newmarket would be far more bedraggled than it is. This is the story of a wonderhorse, Sea the Stars; of a sport, horse racing; and an industry, equine breeding. But it is a closed, obsessive and secretive world, and we need to begin slowly.
Some of the peculiarities of racing have first to be explained. There are two branches: Flat racing is traditionally the sport of kings now sheikhs and wealthy Irish and American consortia ; jump racing of farmers and countrymen. Casual followers of racing used to dote on the Flat, but now seem to prefer jumping: The Flat, to the concern of many in the sport, is ceasing to fascinate. This summer, though, it had a godsend — Sea the Stars, one of the greatest thoroughbreds ever and the best to race in Europe for 40 years.
The twist in the tail is that, after winning six hugely prestigious races in a row, including the 2, Guineas, the Derby and, thrillingly earlier this month, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, he has now been retired. It makes commercial sense for him to bow out at the top, so the Flat will lose its new hero just as a wider audience had become aware of him.
Odds on the FAST Gene
It doesn't happen in jump racing: But Flat racing is an adjunct to a multinational, multimillion-pound breeding industry. There is a huge statue on a roundabout as you enter Newmarket, and it portrays not a racehorse in full flight but a stallion, rearing up beside its handler. All the English classics are for three-year-olds, and are designed to establish which horses are the best of that generation, so they can then be bred from.
As breeding has become more commercialised, with powerful studs such as Darley and the mighty Coolmore in Irelandso racing has in some respects become secondary, a means to the end of producing commercial stallions. It is one reason why the public, which understands racing but takes no interest in breeding, has become disconnected from the sport. He could cover mares if the owners wanted to work him really hard. Many stallions winter in the southern hemisphere, especially Australia, to service mares down under.
A well-regarded stallion, whose progeny do well at the track, is a money-making machine. He might go on producing the goods for 20 years. His earnings will dwarf anything he could make on the racecourse. No wonder the statue on the edge of Newmarket is of a stallion rather than a racehorse. The stud farms are playing for the highest stakes of all. It is a warm, sunny, sedate afternoon when I get a tour of the National Stud, on the edge of Newmarket's July racecourse, from stud secretary Rachael Gowland.
The National Stud was once owned by the state and used to breed horses for the cavalry. Now it is owned by the Jockey Club and, under new boss Brian O'Rourke, is trying to raise its profile after a rocky period. It stands four soon to be five stallions, the best of which is a sprinter called Bahamian Bounty. The high spot of my visit to the National Stud is a meeting with Silver Patriarch, a lovely grey which won the St Leger in Silver Patriarch is retired now from stud duties after a not-very-successful career as a sire.
His progeny weren't world-beaters, and when that happens the owners of mares look elsewhere. As Silver Patriarch's iffy career as a sire shows, there is no guarantee that great racehorses will produce other great racehorses. Breeding a Sea the Stars relies on a bit of science and a lot of luck. Wealthy breeders will play the numbers game, owning as many good mares and producing as many foals with top-class pedigrees as possible in the hope that one or two are capable of winning Group One races — the mark of achievement which turns your horse into a commodity because others will want to breed from it.
These fortunes may as well be placed on roulette numbers. Most breeders want to talk about pedigrees. I, of course, want to talk about sex, and when Gowland shows me round the covering shed at the National Stud I tell her I need a detailed description of the sex act.
Luckily, horsey women are completely unembarrassable. The breeding season runs from mid-February to June. As soon as the vet decides that the mare is ovulating, she will be brought from a boarding stud — which houses mares only — to the covering shed of the stud in which the stallions stand. Quite often she will have her foal from the previous season with her a "foal at foot", in the lovely racing phrase.
Odds on the FAST Gene
The sex scene is chaotic and very public: In the breeding season, the stallion's sex life runs like clockwork. But he has to have a space in between. We try not to give them five coverings a day unless we can help it. That's hard work for the stallion, and for the staff.
Also, since everything depends on when the mare is ovulating, lots of slots need to be left free to allow for flexibility in the schedule.
Breeding racehorses: what price good genes? - Dimensions
The mare arrives, is checked for inoculations stud farms are obsessed by the danger of diseasehas her tail bandaged up, is washed down, has a large pair of boots put on her back hooves in case she kicks the stallion "A kick in the knackers can put him out of action for 10 days and that can be expensive," I'm told at one studhas a leather cape put on to protect her from being bitten by the stallion when he mounts her, gets "bounced" by the poor old teaser stallion which wears a giant-sized condom to avoid expensive disastersand then gets mounted by the stallion proper.
The sex is brief and to the point, and afterwards they exit the shed in opposite directions. She will probably never even see her lover. It's so unromantic, I complain.
- The super-studs: inside the secretive world of racehorse breeding
I feel sorry for the teaser. But she doesn't think the commercial stallion's life is all it's cracked up to be either.
They get very busy in the season and by the end of it we get the impression they are thinking 'Not another mare!