Bloodlines

by kpmautner

 

Genetics is a crapshoot. Gregor Mendel aside, it’s anybody’s guess as to what will turn up in a breeding gamble. You breed the finest mare you can find to the most suitable stallion your finances will allow, and then watch what happens.

Take Cameo.

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She had Bold Ruler crosses five times in four generations, along with a scattering of other racing royalty. She ran for two years and barely won enough to cover a month’s training fees. (But she made a lot of people – espcially me – very happy off the track, so who cares!)

Take Moses, my horse-of-a-lifetime.

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His pedigree said that he should have been a world-champion cutting horse. He didn’t cooperate. He was a world-champion Kathie’s life insurance policy instead.

Take Holy Bull. He didn’t meet his very humble reserve price (I think it was $15,000, which at the select sales is pretty low) but won the Derby.

Take Secretariat.  He was everything that was wonderful on the track, but an absolute flop in the breeding shed.

Take Sham.  He ran second to Secretariat every time they met, but his get have set world records.

Take the Sunny’s Halo colt I tried when I was looking for a replacement when Moses retired. He sold at the Keeneland Select Sale for upwards of $750,000 as a yearling, had blistering speed – in the morning – and had absolutely no interest in racing in the afternoons. They were asking $3000 for him when I tried him.

There are ever so many stories about the children of privilege who end up on the wrong side of the law,  and there are the heartwarming stories about the ones who, through guts, determination and the assistance of some kind Providence, make it out of the gutter and into glory. You never know.