Mr Prospector on Mr Prospector Explosion
(Image : US Eventing / DeskPic)
“RECIPE FOR AN EXPLOSION”
There was a time when breeders across the length and breadth of the United States advocated against line-breeding (or inbreeding) to the Raise A Native tribe in general, and specifically to Mr. Prospector. The theory was that, as both were somewhat fragile at the races, they were bound to reproduce this in their progeny, and so breeders tended to heed the fad as though it was a religion. It took people in faraway places (like ourselves) to pooh-pooh the theory, not because we knew otherwise, but because we were more into practicalities than “old wives tales”, and couldn’t understand the reluctance when breeding two sound horses to one another.
Of course, the tables have turned 360 degrees, and Americans line-breed the tribe to death these days. The latest example lies in Kentucky Derby hero, Animal Kingdom’s vanquisher in the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, Ruler On Ice, who is by a grandson of Mr. Prospector (by Raise A Native) out of a granddaughter of Alydar (by Raise A Native). The outcome, Ruler On Ice, didn’t only take down the flag of Animal Kingdom in the race (the latter was unfortunate in almost coming down in the early stages of the race), but he also counted among his victims, the Preakness winner, Shackleford.
Interestingly, the Belmont hero is a product of a breeding partnership comprised of two Ph.Ds, Rob Whiteley and Pam Robinson, the former of whom designs the matings, while Pam does the raising.
“I’m a major proponent of mating mares to stallions with physical considerations in order to maximize athleticism.” Whiteley said. “I start with the physical mating first and then go to the pedigree consideration. In the case of Roman Ruler (the winner’s sire) and Champagne Glow, they fit well together - type to type, frame to frame. Both were extremely athletic and had great depth in their families by way of their inbreeding patterns. I was one of the first to recognise the potential of inbreeding to Raise A Native,” Whiteley said. “It was taboo when I got in the horse business”.
Interestingly, the Mr. Prospector line has been all-dominant in what Americans call the “true test of champions”, the nickname for the Belmont. A quick glance at recent winners emanating from this line, lies in the male line chart below.