Most sources of information about the Thoroughbred declare that there were three founding fathers of the breed. These are the three lines that were still active when bloodwriting became important in the middle and end of the nineteenth century. There are in fact quite a few stallions that played a part in the early formation of the breed, many of which are still in genealogies, far back and having no defining influence on horses today.
As has become increasingly apparent over the past century, the “three stripes” are very much a thing of the past, too. At least in the male line. This spot is almost a private reserve for the Darley Arabian horse group – Eclipse – Bend Or – Phalaris which makes up about 90 percent of the male-bred Thoroughbreds today.
Although the Godolphin Arabian still exists, the best lines have almost all regressed to the inner reaches of the lineage, and the Man o’ War branch of the line via In Reality – Relaunch – Tiznow seems destined for the history books unless something completely unexpected happens to revive Line. second.
Byerly Turk’s streak lingered for a century, and the last great hope of chestnut was lost when Precisionist, a champion sprinter who had 10 furlongs left and was as strong as Goose, proved sterile in the stud.
Regarding birth lines, however, the “influence” of these lines is still there. These three and all those who died in the male line are still represented among the inner lineages of the origins, so long as the performance of those lineages continues to justify the people who use them. It’s all about possibilities and opportunities.
The hard truth is that most stallions or stallions do not have the genetic consistency to generate a reasonable percentage of very good and successful racers. It is this aspect of possibility that allows horses like Danzig and Mr. Instead, they are fine racehorses but genetic champions.
Opportunity is the other side of the coin. Without a good number of reasonably good mares, a stallion cannot achieve consistent, high-quality success. It was no small feat for Phalaris to become a father prodigy when he was based at Stanley House; Standing at Claiborne was no barrier to Danzig. Mr. P started out in Florida, where he was widely appreciated for his speed and pedigree, and with immediate success, Mr. P went to Kentucky to stand for Claiborne for the rest of his long stud career.
As a result of the chance association of genes and the general tendency of this regression to mediocrity, most prospecting stallions fail; Most of the male lines die. It’s not a popularity contest, at least not when racers come to the races.
Support our journalism
If you appreciate our work, you can support us by subscribing to our Patreon stream. learn more.
So the effect of the disappearance of male lines is inevitable. The male line is the most competitive position in the pedigree. Only the most successful contemporaries continue the male line. Breeders’ preference for the most successful stallions means that the youngest will not sire sons, and will die out in the male line. Both male mini lines have been languishing for over a century. Then hurry up in Europe and Fair Play in the US ignite the Godolphin Arabian line again.
With the wide representation of these three lines among the horses to be drawn, as well as those before them, the lines will not die so easily. They will simply lie in wait until the next talented sire comes into service. But in the practical world of horse breeding, the first breeds died out quickly because few stallions were actively important; Nobody cared much at the time, and they shouldn’t. The majority of these Old Borns, and many New Borns, still continue along the internal lines of the lineage. However, the possibility has led to the exclusion of a population in the male line.
So the perceived lack of diversity is actually not the case.
The three lines that survived did so by accident. They gave birth to good racers who gave birth to good racers, whose descendants gave birth to a great racer, etc. Lucky odds that most of them will lose, but on the contrary, they decide that some will win. Someone is going to win the Derby every year, no matter how unworthy they are compared to Ormonde, Hyperion or Seabird.