BREEDERS SHRUG AT SYNTHETIC ANGLE
February 25, 2010
LEXINGTON, KY – Handicappers are making use of growing statistics on so-called “synthetic sires.” But don’t expect those statistics to alter Thoroughbred breeding any time soon, breeders say.
So far, statistics show the most successful sires for synthetic-track runners are often the most successful sires on other surfaces – meaning the synthetic stats simply add luster to an already attractive record. In 2009, the five leading synthetic sires were Street Cry, sire of Zenyatta; Smart Strike, who ranked third on the 2009 general sires list; Bold Executive, Canada’s long-fashionable sire; Empire Maker, a top-20 general sire whose top 2009 runner was Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile; and A.P. Indy, another stallion whose success long predates synthetic surfaces.
The continuing debate over synthetic surfaces also has made breeders hesitant to dwell on synthetic-strip performance. The New York Racing Association’s commitment to dirt and Santa Anita’s decision to replace its second synthetic surface – perhaps with a dirt track – also have helped keep synthetic aptitude low on many commercial breeders’ priority list.
“I can’t say that synthetic performance has been a big factor in my decision-making,” said Craig Bandoroff, owner of Denali Stud in Lexington. “I don’t see a big transformation that in 10 years we’re going to see all-weather tracks everywhere.”
Bandoroff listed his main criteria for stallions as price range, physical conformation, and marketability, as well as more esoteric statistical ratings that analyze breeding nicks and similar information.”