So, here we go again.† Itís another January, another year of racing is about to commence, and now that the new crop of sires has been added to the game and quickly snapped up by everyone with one fistful of BP and another fistful of mares, two-year-olds are being bred by the dozens.
I figure through the BTB, enough trainers know me well enough by now to know that Iím a blue-collar, ďpublicĒ trainer (as opposed to a ďprivateĒ one who works for a certain selective clientele) who doesnít often get the highest profile of sires whenever he opts to breed.† Hell, I think my working-class credentials are proven by the ďSpend A BuckĒ series Iím currently involved with (10 horses, 10 $1 auction buys, but I digress), but that tends to extend to the horses I breed.† Iíve bought, and earned, credits, but most of the time I usually donít get around to breeding until late in the week, with some exceptions.† This means itís a rare, rare moment where I can get a top-notch sire for credits by Saturday evening.† When my stables have enough BP to make a run at a higher quality of stallions, I do my part but often I still donít aim for the world of Storm Cat and Giantís Causeway(IRE).† Iíd love to have those horses, and in fact Iím willing to claim them from you no matter the cost, but itís rare I nab them at all.† In fact, itís only happened once, for which the name of Mouse Lotto will always have a special place in my heart.
This past year, though, with some improved performances and a new philosophy of not breeding much of anything after the Breeders Cup, I managed to get a number of my stables to the point where I could breed to mares, or from scratch, and the world was my oyster.† That, and I bought some credits too in addition to what I had on hand, allowed me to go after some sires I otherwise never had the pleasure of trying out.† So, I went nuts breeding a new line of two-year-olds.† In true ďMatch GameĒ/ĒBlankety BlanksĒ tradition, you are free to ask:
ďHow nuts were you?Ē
I was so nuts that I filled up four holding stables with new juvenilesÖand still have plenty of new two-year-olds without a place in my holding barns.† Iíd be ashamed to give you a total number.† ButÖ
ÖIím not so ashamed that I wonít disclose to you what I did, to an extent, and to whom and how and why I did it.† In a quest to give much of the people, old and new, in the Sim a look at the inner workings of one average playerís approach to the new year of breeding a new crop of horses, I want to share what Iíve attempted in my barns.
I want to say, in advance, that I donít plan on joining the two-year-old season until, say, April, because this time around I want to adhere more to the idea of real-world juvenile racing, and I want to give myself more of a chance to develop some of my new flock of racers into something that wonít be dropped in for a $10,000 tag by September 1.† Hope springs eternal for the common trainer.† But I think, on a number of levels, Iím poised to do better this year than in recent times (although I must say I think Iím pretty good with young horses, particularly the fillies; we all I think are established in the Sim to have specialties to hone and refine as we play, such as the notion that some of us do better with turf sprinters, or three-year-old colts, or filly routers, or marathoners, and so on) with my two-year-olds.
So, this is a look at some of the names I hope could be in your head when you think about what lies ahead for the new generation of Sim babies.† Call the ones below ďThe Gang Of TenĒ.
Jesus Walks [Came Home x Pulpit x Meadowlake] is the Kentucky-bred foal of a sprinter I claimed in recent months, but she came home lame in her only start for me.† With his motherís ability to sprint, and his fatherís speed, I believe this one could turn out strong out of the box.† I do my homework when I breed, or try to at least, and the nick when used seems to have positive results, so I think wherever this one ends up could have a quick colt to deal with.
Tupelo [Forestry x Cherokee Run x Well Decorated] is a Kentucky-bred breedover of my first stakes winner, Pueblo.† I didnít look too closely at nicks for this one, but I bred based on the ďhe-mareĒ performance of Pueblo, who was sharp from the start as a three-year-old and won a stakes in just his second outing.† With a horse like that, I canít help but wonder what Pueblo might have done at 2 if he was bred much earlier.† I waited for Forestry to be officially open for breeding, and pounced quickly, in the hopes that using a rather top-quality sire with a good horse (rated ďEĒ) could turn the tide.† Forestry worked very well for me once before (Theory Of Love, please remember that name), and I hope history is repeating.
Emphasis [Eddington x Langfuhr x Storm Creek] comes from a mare who was at her best sprinting on grass, and this Kentucky-bred colt is inbred back to both Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer, in that way where those bloodlines cross each other.† The sire is likely a notch below, say, Saint Liam or Rock Hard Ten in terms of notoriety, and that makes him probably a more dicey proposition, but I tried with a number of these new horses to utilize inbreeding in a way that crosses the top bloodlines across one anotherÖif that makes sense.† Different trainers/breeders use different approaches, and you go with what works for you, which I believe this does.
Zillionaire [Skip Away x Devil His Due x Seeking The Gold] is a filly following in the footsteps of an active mare of mine.† As trainer of Better Than Heaven, a hard-working five-year-old mare by Skip Away, I think that Skip Away is high on my list of underrated sires, particularly of routers.† Heís almost always available by the end of the weekend for a song, and for credits, and the ones he turns out are usually pretty good, particularly as they get older.† I try to use him, and a few other sires who can produce some talented older horses, when I can because I know that usually theyíre available and faithful.† Here, I used a mare that, in spite of the solid route pedigree, was a stakes-winner at 3 sprinting.† Iím hoping when the races get a bit longer that sheíll develop, but if she holds true to her mareís ability, she might blossom much earlier than I thought.
Union Of The Heart [Generous(IRE) x Langfuhr x Giantís Causeway(IRE)] is a horse, bred in the U.K., who I wanted to resemble another one of my potentially good horses, three-year-old Contribute(ENG).† These two share the same sire, and this one is out of a middling claimer on grass with a very good bottom of the pedigree, with Giantís Causeway and Gone West as the damís respective DS and DDS.† When the hypomating came out, I thought there was some potential even as I donít generally like going 4x4 to any sire without crossing another inbreeding line, so going through with it feels a bit risky.† But I like Generous as a sire, and hope the grass opportunities this promises come through.
Alimony [Runaway Groom x In Excess(IRE) x Diablo] is my Kentucky-bred shot at redemption over a missed opportunity.† I claimed the graded-winning dam last year, and tried breeding her over, but instead, I traded her back to the horse pool by mistake, where someone else got her and bred her to Wild Rush.† Fortunately, I got first crack at the next foal, and even if the sire lacks a contemporary star quality, the mare did win three times at 2 and could be pretty good at the middle distances.† I do like Runaway Groom, with him having given me another graded-placed active mare, and hope for good things.† (I like the name, too, from the pedigree Runaway Groom-Toomuchdevilinher.)
Then thereís War Treaty [Dehere x War Emblem x Pine Bluff].† War Bluff, my only graded winner, was my pride and joy last year.† But he peaked around the time of that win, and in fact the graded win was his final win, as his form tailed off badly after that.† Like Pueblo, I thought retiring him to ďthe surgeryĒ was better than struggling versus allowance horses at 5 and beyond, and so I looked for just the right sire.† Dehere seems to be marvelous when paired with a Mr. Prospector-line dam-sire, but there are two risks.† First, thus far his success is seemingly limited to sons of Mr. P, and not a dam-sire thatís a grandson of Mr. P.† Then thereís the unpredictability of War Emblem in reality and in the Sim, with his, uh, special concerns, letís call them.† Will all of these things, will my new filly sink or swim?† I thought it was worth a try.
Triple Slam [Grand Slam x Cryptoclearance x Vice Regent] is a colt I am most excited about. His dam has produced a stakes winner for me in Cryptovision, and another talented colt in Under Siege, and all of these foals were sired by grandsons of Mr. Prospector.† Following that successful line of thinking, it seemed logical to go forward with the idea and hope for the best.† Of the many juveniles I have, this one really has the highest hopes.
Bear Attack [Grand Reward x Event Of The Year x Saint Ballado] is one of the more interesting creations of mine.† Heís inbred to Mr. Prospector 4Dx5D, Northern Dancer 4Sx5Sx5D, Halo 4Dx5S, andÖBallade 4Dx5S.† To inbreed to a mareís lineage is unusual, I am guessing, but it just turned out that way; Saint Ballado is a full sibling to two champions: Devilís Bag and the mare Glorious Song, who is the dam sire of Rahy, appearing in Grand Rewardís pedigree.† Itís complex, but I like trying to do things like that, because (and this is conjecture on my part) sometimes itís interesting to cross a broodmareís inbreeding lines with those of some stallions.† Whether it works is something else entirely, but the point of breeding in the game, in addition to trying to create a champion, is to experiment, and (dare I say it out loud?) have some fun.
Rhode Island [Northern Afleet x Boston Harbor x Meadowlake] is a brother to my stakes-winning Miracles, and should have some big shoes to fill.† Miracles was a daughter of Not For Love, a sire whose bloodlines are Mr. Prospector x Northern Dancer, and thatís a particular nick whose time is running out in breeding, as there arenít a lot of top-notch sires left with that specific lineage (donít quote me on that, but the only other good one I could consider for the mare was Numerous, which shares the same lines).† So I instead chose a grandson of Mr. P out of a grandson of ND, in order to get a crossing that looks like Miraclesí pedigree.† My fingers are crossed on this oneís chances.
I also have a pending juvenile whose pedigree is Rock Hard Ten x Deputy Minister x Afleet and who will be named either Protestant or Sexual Healing (out of a colt of mine, Rebellious Pastor).† And then thereís my forthcoming High Chaparral(IRE) x Forty Niner x Danehill breedover (from the horse Hijo De Kangaroo) named either Heart In Motion or, for the folks Down Under, Australia.† And these are just the tip of what I have lying in wait for the spring juvenile races, for better or worse.
Itís not bragging, the point of this tale.† Indeed, with all two-year-olds unraced for some time to come, the only way to actually brag is to be successful on the track.† I just wanted to offer my own true confessions, from someone who after just over two years of playing in the Sim, of what Iíve tried to do this year with my new horses.† Maybe it gives an idea to a beginning player or an intermediate one of what they might be able to do one day.† Maybe itís a chance to show what I might have learned, or have yet to learn, or even what Iíve forgotten to remember.† But in my head, thereís always that long shot of a dream, to say to the Sim, ďRemember the one I wrote about in the BTB?† Look what itís done.† How you like me now?Ē† In a friendly way, of course.
I hope all our early-2007 creations have that kind of chance for success in the coming months and years.