This will be my last post on sire lists. I promise.
Here's the deal.
Thoroughbred Times's general sire list includes earnings for North American-based sires from the 18 countries for which the Jockey Club database receives complete racing data. According to the Thoroughbred Times general sire list, Giant's Causeway was leading sire of 2009 with earnings of $15,950,453. (Full disclosure: I currently write part time for Thoroughbred Times and was intimately involved in developing the software that produces that list.). Thoroughbred Times also calculates a general sire list for its annual Racing Almanac by North American earnings only. By that criteria, Smart Strike was leading sire in North America in 2009 with earnings of $9,048,551.
The Blood-Horse general sire list includes earnings for North American-based sires for Northern Hemisphere countries--except Hong Kong and Japan (I think....I don't receive the BH print magazine and can't find any explanation online). According to the Blood-Horse general sire list, Giant's Causeway was leading sire of 2009 with earnings of $11,079,918. The Blood-Horse also makes available on their website a leading sire list by North American earnings only. By that criteria, Smart Stike was leading sire of 2009 with earnings of $9,048,551. Like Thoroughbred Times, however, the Blood-Horse uses its list that includes international earnings to designate their leading sire.
The Jockey Club's EquineLine sire reports also report Giant's Causeway as leading sire. According to a Jockey Club representative, they use basically the same criteria as the Blood-Horse "to avoid over inflating progeny earnings because of the purses in Japan/Hong Kong." Okay, so you use earnings from the richest day in Thoroughbred racing--Dubai World Cup day, but don't use Japan and Hong Kong because they "inflate" progeny earnings. Somehow I thought inflating progeny earnings was what sire lists were all about, but never mind.
The Daily Racing Form's sire lists (which, again, I don't see the print version so someone tell me if I have this wrong) list Smart Strike as leading sire of 2009, because their list is based on earnings in North America and Dubai World Cup day only. That's right....not all of Dubai, just World Cup day.
Bloodstock Research's Bloodstock Journal and Brisnet service publishes a leading sire list on their website, but frankly I have no idea what criteria it is based on, because, although Giant's Causeway is listed as the leader, Cape Cross, who stands in Ireland is listed second, and Irish-based Danehill Dancer and English-based Oasis Dream both appear in the top ten.
The NTRA website--which I suppose is as close to an "official" site for Thoroughbred racing information as anything else, at least to the general sporting public--links to this EquineLine list, which, it turns out, is very similar to the Brisnet list, though the earnings totals are different. Best I can figure, Cape Cross, Danehill Dancer, et.al. are included because they had a starter in North America in 2009.
Is it any wonder the sporting public is confused by and steadily losing interest in Thoroughbred racing? We can't even begin to agree on how to keep our most vital statistics. By my count we have at least five different ways of counting what should be a simple thing, and, as a result, come up with two different horses as leading sire.
None of this makes any sense.
No other country in the world that I know of includes racing outside their borders in their leading sire statistics. And, yes, when I participated in producing specs for the Thoroughbred Times sire list software, I argued in favor of including worldwide earnings, because that gives the most complete picture of the sire's accomplishments, though, in my defense, I insisted we calculate a North America only list as well.
Sire lists that reflect worldwide earnings keep advertisers happy, because they generally give higher numbers. We have to have those stats, and sire lists based on international earnings (all international earnings--no picking and choosing what countries you use) are a perfectly valid way to look at it. But, ultimately, that should not determine the leading North American sire.
That title should be determined by earnings in North America only. And nobody in the business--that's right, nobody--uses those criteria to determine the horse they call simply "leading sire."
The Horse Racing blog has moved
2 years ago