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The Power of Pedigree

Breeding science for the 21st century.

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By: Jay Leimbach |

Athletic ability in both humans and horses is largely genetic, so understanding the genetic make-up of a racehorse is a priceless skill. Before the recent advent of genetic testing in the laboratory, there were essentially three ways to estimate the genetic make-up of a thoroughbred racehorse:  pedigree, conformation and racing performance. The latter two are visible to the naked eye, but estimating the strength of a pedigree has traditionally been more of an art than a science. Top Racehorses Not Always Best Having two parents who were outstanding racehorses has usually been considered the mark of a fine pedigree, but many top racehorses do not become successful breeding horses, while some rather modest racehorses go on to become excellent breeding horses. This is particularly true of broodmare prospects, since almost all stallion prospects enjoyed considerable success on the racetrack. The old adage of “Breed the best to the best, and…

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