Horse Racing Game Monday, 5/27/2024 12:53 ET
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Breeding Guidelines and Past Analysis – Dec 2005
First, let’s take a brief look at how horses are put together at HRP. Horses at are very complex creatures. In real life there is still a big uncertainty as to how many genes a horse contains. The mapping of genes in horses is really just in its early stages. HRP horses carry well over 50 pairs of genes that define how the horses perform on the track. Each gene pair plays a part in what defines the characteristics of that horse. With each gene pair there is a dominant gene and a recessive gene. The dominant gene is what goes into determining how a horse performs on the track. The recessive gene is carried by a horse, but has no impact on the performance.

Let’s look at an example using the track surface characteristic. Does a horse like to run better on dirt, turf, or does it care? There is more than 1 gene pair that impacts surface in an HRP horse, but let’s go ahead and simplify it a little and just think of it as 1 gene pair for this analysis. Let’s say we have a stallion that prefers to run on the dirt. That would mean his dominant gene for the surface characteristic would be dirt. The recessive gene for this characteristic could still be dirt, turf, or both. Lets say it were turf. We then breed the stallion to a broodmare. When an offspring is created the stallion would contribute one gene from the track surface characteristic and the broodmare would contribute one gene. If the broodmare is carrying two dirt genes, the offspring would receive either the dirt or turf gene from the stallion and a dirt gene from the broodmare because that is all it is carrying. If the stallion passed on the turf gene to the offspring then it would be carrying one turf and one dirt gene. What would then determine if the offspring preferred dirt or turf would be by which of the two genes came up as the dominant and which came up as the recessive. Some HRP horses can have a tendency to pass on more dominant genes to their offspring than others but a horse will never pass on more than 60% of the genes as dominant to an offspring. Other characteristics of the horses would work similarly.

The recessive genes a horse carries can partly explain how offspring of horses can turn out drastically different than its parents. Having a family tree with history can help to determine what potential recessive genes a horse is carrying. With auto-generated horses this history is not available so there is no way of knowing what recessive genes these horses carry. Other things like less competition early on to allow for less than graded stake quality horses to win graded stakes can also cloud the picture. You may be expecting better odds of the offspring being graded stake quality since at least one of its parents had won a graded stake. In all actuality the parent was not really graded stake caliber.

We will now try to provide some statistics that shows the breeding is still headed in the right direction and actually does have direction. We will start by defining 4 groups of horses. They will be labeled Category 1, 2, 3, and 4. Category 1 horses carry the genes of the fastest horses. Category 2 horses carry the genes of the 2nd fastest, and so forth. To get the clearest picture we will narrow our analysis to current 2yos only. Things like less than graded stake quality horses winning graded stakes and auto-gens being bought as 3 or 4yos can be removed from the equation by doing this.

Homebreds – Offspring has at least 1 of parents from the category to qualify.
Category   Winners   Stake Winners   Graded Stake Winners
1   19.95   2.38   0.65
2   17.03   1.22   0.34
3   16.12   0.76   0.28
4   14.82   0.78   0.10

Auto-Gens – Auto-Gen of live stable that carries genes of the defined category.
Category   Winners   Stake Winners   Graded Stake Winners
1   25.24   1.55   0.30
2   22.13   1.36   0.22
3   18.67   1.09   0.22
4   16.86   1.09   0.13

The numbers in the tables above are percentages and are based off of total foals. So for homebreds with at least 1 parent as a category 1, 19.95% of them have won at least 1 race, 2.38% have won a stakes race, and 0.65% have won a graded stakes race. Looking over the homebreds table it becomes clear very quickly that the quality of the genes that the parent carries plays a real factor in breeding especially when seeking a graded stakes winner. A category 1 is almost twice as likely to produce a graded stakes winner as compared to a category 2. Also, keep in mind that only 1 of the parents has to fall in the category to be included in the statistics. If a category 1 is bred with a category 4 it would be included in both categories statistics. With this in mind it should be very intuitive that breeding a category 1 with a category 1 (best with best) would increase the odds that much more and breeding a category 4 with a category 4 (worst with worst) would decrease the odds that much more.

Now let’s take a look at the auto-gens table. This table gives an idea of what kind of genes auto-gens are carrying that are winning races. The table clearly shows that there is a direct correlation to the genes an auto-generated horse is carrying and its performance on the track.

The 2 tables are measuring something slightly different so it is hard to compare them with each other, but a couple things do grab our attention. First, there is what appears to be a higher winners pct for the auto-gens overall. The auto-gens winners for category 1 is 25.24% while the homebreds is only 19.95%. We believe this is due partly to dilution. Owners are breeding a category 1 with a lower category like a category 3 or 4 more often than not which would translate into a little more of a hit or miss situation where the offspring is either very good or very bad. This would lower the winners pct while maintaining a higher grade stake winners pct which is exactly what appears to be happening.

So, how do you determine if you have a horse that would fit into a category 1 breeder? Here are the biggest factors to consider:
1. Horse’s performance on the track.
2. Parent’s performance on the track.
3. Quality of offspring the parents have produced.
4. Quality of offspring the horse has produced.

You could go even further back by looking at several generations’ performance and quality of offspring. The more data you can collect the better you can understand what you possibly have.

Starting with auto-gens whose parents are of unknown descent introduces a pretty large unknown factor as seen above. If you have an auto-gen you are breeding, all you have to go off of at first is the horse’s performance on the track and this is just a small piece in a much bigger picture in what genes the horse could be carrying. Looking at the offspring from a horse that is bred by an auto-gen will be an important factor in helping to determine what the genes could actually be.

In summary we believe breeding is indeed headed in the right direction. The statistics appear to be very stable overall and it is more of a matter of owners just finding the best breeders in the game. When this occurs (which we believe is starting to happen now) the game will take another step towards stability in breeding and understanding what to expect from a particular match up.
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