My last post emphasized the importance of the class of runners representing a given breeding method, as opposed to a high strike rate from opportunity. A conflict between the two arises, for example, in the case of foals that are by Malibu Moon and inbred to Mr. Prospector, which has yielded some few runners of very high class representing a very low strike rate from opportunity. My purpose in bringing up that case was to suggest that class trumps strike rate, but what I didn’t say in that post and must add here, is that such cases, while not particularly rare, certainly are not the norm. Generally, high class and a high strike rate go hand in hand.
Insofar as Zenyatta’s celebrity has transcended her beeding, it’s something of a sacrilege to cite her as a case in point of pedigree, but I’m going to do it anyway because her pedigree context is instructive and, in fact, not entirely unique.
Her sire, Street Cry, has sired foals (through his 2007 crop) out of seven mares with both Hail to Reason and Hoist the Flag in their ancestries, to which in both instances Zenyatta is inbred 5×4. Among those seven foals are Zenyatta herself, Tomcito (Street Cry-Inside or Outside, by Eastern Echo), winner of the Classico Ricardo Ortiz de Zevallos (PER-G1) and the Classico Derby Nacional (PER-G1), and dual-listed SW Alice Belle (Street Cry-Camporese, by Sadler’s Wells). That’s a strike rate of 3/7, including two multiple-G1 winners.
Hail to Reason happens to be one of Street Cry’s favorite ancestors, assured only in part by his strike rate of 5/17 with Seattle Slew. His overall strike rate with Hail to Reason is 16/90, but the gross numbers, as good as they are, actually understate the effect of Hail to Reason. Among those 16 superior runners are five G1 winners, a G2 winner, and four G3 winners–a total of 10 graded/group SWs. Also included in my unofficial tally of probable superior runners is Temple Street (Street Cry-Northside Star by Pulpit), which ran second in the 2009 Humana Distaff H. (G1).
Street Cry’s record with Hoist the Flag stands at 3/18. That’s not a great strike rate, but it’s a good one as far as it has gone, and it’s buoyed by two G1 winners–Zenyatta and Tomcito.
There can be no doubt that Street Cry has a very special relation to Hail to Reason and probably, to a lesser degree, Hoist the Flag. Consider, though, how dubious those strike rates would seem if the class of the runners involved were below overall expectations of Street Cry, rather than above them.