Do good racemares make good broodmares?

One of the great questions in the breeding industry is do good racemares make good broodmares?

Over the years, there have been a number of great broodmares, who exhibited very little ability on the track. However, as is to be expected, a number of top-class mares also became great broodmares. Occasionally exceptional racemares prove very disappointing at stud, for a variety of reasons.

So what is a better indicator of future broodmare class- racing ability or pedigree?

The US pedigree website,, completed a survey of broodmares entered in Keeneland sales between 1984 and 1988. They selected two groups of mares, well bred but moderate racemares, and good racefillies, who lacked the family of their counterparts.

A full list of their findings is available online at And it is quite interesting to find that the survey shows that, of the mares studied, of the fillies, often with relatively ordinary pedigrees, with proven stakes ability on the track,11% are producing stakes winners. By contrast, just 6% of the well bred, moderate racemares, in the survey, are throwing stakes winners.

The difference is also striking when looking at graded stakes winners.  Of the stakes class mares, 5% are producing graded stakes winners versus well bred failures, of which just 2.3% are throwing graded winners.

This shows that even an unfashionably bred stakes filly is likely to outperform a well bred, but slow mare.
This rule seems to hold true for breeding and racing statistics in this country.

Of the 188 stakes race run in South Africa last season, there were 136 individual winners.
Of the 136 stakes winners during the 2010/2011 season, 29 were produced by stakes winning mares. Another 25 were out of stakes placed mares.

In other words, 40% of last season’s stakes winners were produced by very talented racefillies.
Of the 136 feature race winners in the past season, just seven were out of raced mares which never won a race, whilst 19 others are out of unraced mares. This means that 80% of the stakes winners in the 2010-2011 season were produced by mares that won at least one race.

Another interesting fact is the general stud success enjoyed by the female victors in arguably the world’s greatest race, the Prix de’l Arc de Triomphe. Since the Arc was first run in 1920, the race has been won by members of the fairer sex on 17 occasions.

Of the 16 female Arc winners (Corrida having won the race twice), the most recent filly to win the race, Zarkava, is yet to be represented by a runner. So 15 fillies have won the Arc and have stud records.

The 15 Arc winners have their stud records listed below:

Pearl Cap (Le Capucin)
dam of Epsom Derby winner Pearl Diver
Samos (Bruleur)
dam of G1W Marveil
Corrida (Coronach)
dam of French Derby winner Coarze
Nikellora (Vatellor)
dam of six stakes horses inc G1 winner Chief
Coronation (Djebel)
never had a foal
La Sorellina (Sayani)
dam of winners
San San (Bald Eagle)
had 2 black type performers in Japan
Allez France (Sea Bird)
dam of G3W Action Francaise
Ivanjica (Sir Ivor)
dam of winners
Three Troikas (Lyphard)
dam of G3W Three Angels
Detroit (Riverman)
dam of Arc winner Carnegie
Gold River (Riverman)
dam of G1W Riviere D’Or
Akiyda (Labus)
dam of no registered winners
All Along (Targowice)
dam of G2W Along All
Urban Sea (Miswaki)
dam of 4 G1 winners including Sea The Stars and Galileo

This study shows that of the 15 mares to have won Europe’s most prestigious race, seven (47%) have produced what today would be classified as G1 winners. And 11 (73%) are stakes producers.

While the mares above were certainly given the best chances at stud, visiting the world’s top stallions, it is hard the deny the impact of the above statistics.

Clearly, the more racing ability a mare has, the more chance she has of becoming a successful broodmare.

It is also interesting to look and see if the better racemares also produce a better class of stallion son.

Some of history’s greatest sires, such as Northern Dancer (dam won G1 Spinaway Stakes but was disqualified),  Nearco (his dam won both the Italian 1000 and 2000 Guineas), Mr Prospector (out of Gold Digger, ten time stakes winner), Sunday Silence (his dam, Wishing Well, won the G2 Gamely Hcp) and Storm Cat (out of the lightning fast, record breaking Terlingua), (to name but a few) have been produced by very talented racemares.

Tellingly, nine of the top ten sires on the US general sires list are out of stakes winning mares. (Even the sole exception on the list, More Than Ready, is out of a mare who won three races).

The first two sires on the UK general sires list, Galileo and Montjeu, are also sons of high-class racemares.

These statistics and surveys clearly show that, in general, the more racing ability the more likely a mare is to do well at stud. While there are exceptions to every rule, racing ability is a hugely important indicator to future stud success.

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