It is important to follow real life racing in order to see what sires are performing well. Sim ratings are never going to be an exact science but generally speaking an investment in a sire whose real foals are hot is a good one. The easiest reason to explain is that a horse on the upswing will likely produce a better future breeding prospect than a horse who is lukewarm in real life but perhaps has a better current record in the game. The other reason is that it can often take years to see the effects of an upgrade on a sire.
I’m going to use Snitzel as an example here. This past weekend he was represented by his second grade one winner in the game, Klassic Bread. Klassic Bread is a member of his 2017 foal crop which has currently produced seven stakes winners of fourteen stakes races. Three of those are graded winners who have won five graded stakes.
Snitzel is a son of Redoute’s Choice who entered stud in 2006. He was a solid racer with one G1 score among his seven career victories. He did earn over a million $AUS. In much the same way that War Front built his reputation as a sire in the US, Snitzel did so in Australia. They both started at modest fees and received modest mares but once their foals started running things changed. Consistently producing stakes winners, their fees rose and the quality of mares increased. Over the past several years Snitzel has gone from being an exceptional sire to being a record breaking sire. When the 2017-2018 season ends he will have smashed the record for season earnings by a sire in Australia (he currently holds the record as well). He has a chance to break the single-season record for number of stakes winners, a record he currently co-holds. He broke the record for most juvenile winners for a sire in a season in 2016-2017. Currently he has sired thirteen G1 winners and is running an average of nearly 11% stakes winners to starters.
Much like War Front in the sim Snitzel did not retire to great fanfare. He received few mares in his early books and his rating was not high. As of today he has produced 653 runners of which 484 were produced since 2014. For the 2014 season Snitzel was given an announced bump. In the 2013-2014 Australian season Snitzel was ranked second on the overall sires list so a bump was appropriate. Interestingly enough War Front also received an announced bump that year.
Snitzel’s popularity immediately exploded. He sired 94 runners in that 2014 crop and a huge jump to 128 in 2015 (a number not far off his pre-2014 total combined). Those 2014 runners had an 85.1 winning percentage and produced six stakes winners of ten stakes races including one graded winner. His 2015 crop included two graded winners and then he went cold in 2016 with no current graded winners, although those foals are only four years old. In real life Snitzel went from the #2 ranked Australian sire in 2013-2014 to eighth in the two subsequent years before really breaking out in 2016-2017 to earn his first sire title.
I think it is safe to argue that Snitzel’s performance over the past two years has exceeded anything he had done prior even though he had steadily built up his reputation. The question the sim breeder has to ask is – are those two spectacular seasons flukes or a signal of what is to come. And what price are you willing to pay to find out. As of 0500 game time on 5/16/2018 Snitzel is available for around 500 credits and bps (I have purchased him for lower this year). Not a bargain right now but a tempting price for a sire who may be rated elite in the very near future.
What is important to note here is that Snitzel’s 2017 crop (who again are just three years old) have already produced more graded winners for their sire than any of his previous crops. We must remember that the number of sires bumped every year is pretty big but obviously only a fraction gets an announced bump. When Mike announced the bumped sires for 2017 Snitzel had not yet completed his first champion season as a sire. He was having an amazing year but it was only half over when Mike made the announcement. I think based on the results we have seen so far from this crop that some combination of an unannounced upward movement combined perhaps with players noticing his record setting year and sending better mares to him have improved Snitzel’s standing in the game. It’s worth noting that of his 17 two year old winners in 2018 he already has his first stakes winner from that crop.
Many astute players thought that Snitzel would get an announced boost in 2018. Only five horses received an announced bump this year and none of those were sires in the top echelons. I think it is very safe to say that proven sires likely were boosted upward this year but for whatever reason the announcements centered on sires moving up from the lower levels. In some ways that makes sense – a horse like Written Tycoon who is quite good in real life but had not produced a single stakes winner in the game prior to 2018 will necessarily receive a larger bump than sires who are already rated as good or better.
Is it possible that Snitzel received a bump in 2017? Not only do I think it is possible but that it is likely. The same question could be asked about a 2018 bump although it is far too early to make any definitive arguments one way or another. Two things that need to be remembered by prospective breeders are 1) a share purchased this year can be used next January and 2) if Snitzel gets an announced bump in any future years a 2018 foal by him will become a more valuable breeding prospect. In 2013 I ran a contest to find the best value breedings for another player’s mare band. Two sires that were chosen for multiple mares were Tapit and War Front. They were each available for 300-400 bps. These were some of the highest prices paid for any sires in the contest but the question was whether they were good value. Some of the foals were not elite sire level runners but at least won was a G2 winner. But if you spent 300 bps and ended up with an allowance winning Tapit mare who is just starting to produce babies for you how would you feel?