Last Chance For Romance Tonight by cvbear
Friday, December 16, 2011 at
How To Give A Previously Unused Sire One Last Dance When Mixing Them With Old-School Veterans
I love breeding in the Sim. I've always thought that you are only limited by your imagination in this game when it comes to creating horses that can run and win. Even though this year I have begun to branch out into breeding more rich pedigrees than I ever thought possible (confidential to the Sim players from last week: you left Unbridled available for credits late on Friday night...shame on you...and my Big Brown x Unbridled x Wild Again creation thanks you), I still think in more of an old-school manner when it comes to many a creation for my Empire. Not every horse is going to contain Danzig as a dam-sire or Mr. Prospector as a dam's dam-sire, after all. The real world isn't full of white-collar pedigrees. In fact, go to any track and you'll undoubtedly find your share of ring-around-the-collar pedigrees all over. If a claimer is the backbone of racing, the marrow will surely have dam-sires and dam's dam-sires like Inverness Drive, Soy Numero Uno and Groton as its marrow.
Usually, come November, I begin the annual New Year's resolution type of notion in my barns, of saving up for breeding my 2-year-olds of next year. I think of it as New Year's resolution types of notions because I always say it, then I breed cheap bargains to race for the next week anyway. This year was no exception, but for the fact that November and the holidays do have a sense of reflectiveness about them. You think ahead to next year's new horses, and you take note of who's not going to be available next year as a sire. If you're a 3-year-old only sire who's headed for Sim extinction on January 1, 2012, and you haven't sired anything, it's particularly hard to watch, because your legacy might just be a foal from 2009...and that's all.
So, when I broke my resolve this year and started to consider those horses in my barn who had outlived their usefulness to me, I had a thought. I decided to breed some last 3-year-olds, using sires leaving the active breeding game as of the New Year. My focus was on sires that hadn't done anything in the breeding world in 2011 and who were now facing extinction, having died before 2011 began. I used these lame-duck sires, and I paired them with some old-school names in the DS and DDS slots. My rationale was, "If these sires are going out, let them pair up with some old friends from 25 years ago, and even earlier." I wasn't planning on breaking the bank for them, plus my expectations were kept to just breaking their maidens at any possible level. The worst thing that could happen was I squandered under 49 BP on them.
I bred quite a few of them a few weeks ago. I had to hunt for 3-year-old sires who hadn't sired a thing this year, but in the process of looking for them, I also found a few sires that were going to retire without having sired a single horse of any kind. That's just not fair. (Indulge me.) Every sire has the right to be used at least once or twice, whether big or little. Every sire deserves the same kind of treatment that a Storm Cat would have gotten, just once. We should use our imaginations more, and our credit accounts less, and think about showing some love to the small timer about to leave the game without knowing the love of a Sim breeding. (Greer Garson would play me in the movie...if she were still alive.)
In Florida, I found a son of Successful Appeal named Successful Son, who was so unsuccessful as a sire that no one ever used him before, and in the next month, he was going bye-bye. I got him his first foal with weeks to spare, and paired it with the reasonable Chapel Royal and the unknown quality Ack Drone, who I'd never heard of. But when you breed a bargain and the sire only costs 9 BP, it leaves you some 90 BP or so with which you can play in the pool of 20,000 sires to achieve something decent with. The filly, named Purse Key (from my list of names, which I wanted to burn off because there's too damn many of them not good enough for a good horse), debuted a couple weeks ago, and earned a rousing speed figure for a 3-year-old debut of.......56. Fortunately, it was a 4-horse field, in a MSW, two of whom were computer horses, and as a 6/5 favorite, she ran second. She may never be Ruffian, but if I can spot her well enough at 4, she can get a maiden win and earn back her cost...not that she hasn't already done so.
I also found Warrantor in Florida. I also know nothing about him, except he had just one 3-year-old last fall who won, and that one was bred by the computer and was a winner in three starts. This one I paired with Criminal Type and another DDS I had never heard of, Broadway Forli. And this odd combination was relatively magical. This filly, Daniella Drive, won at first asking in a mile-long maiden claimer, for a $35,000 tag, going a mile against 5 others. The speed figure was another respectable number, a 72, which is I think good enough to try and build on. And it was a 10-1 upset, to boot.
By Four Thirty was my contribution to the legacy of New York sire Dontletthebigonego, who had only one Sim winner, back in 2008, and who was also about to enter forced retirement. This one got matched with active New York sire Catienus and another new-to-me sire, Roman Diplomat. Entered in a $40,000 New York-bred maiden claimer, this colt wired the field of four actually-owned-by-people horses, winning by three and a quarter lengths with a 76 speed figure...at 13-1.
Grant Me Serenity was by Gemma's Star down in Louisiana, and had big shoes to fill, as Gemma's Star had a stakes winner back in 2005. But the late sire hadn't sired anything since 2007 and was leaving the Sim shortly. I had Songandaprayer come help me out for a song, and Jeblar was also well-utilized. The result? Another first-time winner, in a $7500 maiden claimer, with a speed figure of 75 and odds of 10-1.
Learn By Heart might be the last Redskin Warrior in the Sim, and I actually did recall him as a three-year-old sprinter in New York a few years ago. Alas, I never used him, and he was heading out of action with just one winner in four overall starters. I got Wild Rush for a DS, and for the DDS, I had to go old-school New York for an old-school New York-bred, and when in doubt, that means D'Accord. (Talc would also have worked, for those keeping score.) It was one of those wait-and-see things without a lot of hope, as I usually stink at odds-on. The filly was a gamer, though, winning a MSW in Mexico at 3/5 on the lead the whole way, leading by more than 4 at one point and then cruising home by two and a quarter lengths.
Surf Lord was another one, from Canada, who had never known Sim love before as a sire. Another one I never heard of, I paired him with a Canadian vet, Bold N' Flashy, and I actually chose Shelter Half before the computer randomly sent him to someone else. Win-win, right? It was for me, again; he found wet turf to his liking, went off at 17-1 in a field of six, and sloshed home gate-to-wire with a 2-length win and a speed figure of 78.
The experiment did have some flops, lest you think I'm bragging (which I am, but never mind, it's Christmas, gift me some ego already). Honorary Doctorate was a list-of-names refugee which found a soulmate in the sire College Graduate, but even after being paired with Benton Creek and Dr. Blum, she was still sixth with a figure of 58 against regional-breds out in Arizona. And there were I think one or two who got bred over or traded in for other breedings after one race.
But the mixing of rarely-to-never used sires with retro and very under-utilized DS and DDS combinations did pay off for me, for very little expense. And all the examples I cited made their debuts on December 3. It made not only for a very good week, but a pretty special achievement, of getting the obscure and forgotten some quick, brief fleeting Sim glory.
There was one more who made the cut from just last week, a New Jersey-bred named Trendy Wendy (like the names? Let me know, I can send you some from my private stock) who won her debut. She was a 5-1 closer in a local-bred race, who won by more than two going away with a 70 speed figure. It was another mixture of retro (Lite The Fuse as DS) and almost seemingly prehistoric (Accipiter as DDS) teamed up to give highly unknown sire Blasket Sound a going-away present, of a filly who won her maiden quicker than his other winners (compared to his other 2, who won in start #4 and start #7, she's like a friggin' prodigy).
What's my point? Shop locally. It's really true. The Sim does not live by Awesome Again or Sea The Stars alone. Save a little bit of room in your Empires for a few horses who are bred obscurely, using about-to-be-retired sires and some DS and DDS specials that you recall seeing in the pedigrees of your favorite platers. You don't need to be an expert in nicks, bloodlines or whatever to find a few sires to have fun with. I don't think enough people take the time to have some fun on the cheap when breeding Sim horses, and it's a quick and bloodless way to quickly rack up some spare BP when you spot their debuts correctly. Thinking outside the box doesn't always need to be done with highfalutin goals in mind, and everyone loves an underdog. Think about that next time you see Unbridled available on a Friday (seriously, folks, what were you thinking?).