Horse running through field

Best Dam Lines Dominate Derby

by Roger Lyons

Even if I have to say so myself (and I do), the Dam Line Index (DLI) profiles presented in my pre-Derby post were very lucky in separating the contenders from the pretenders. That post cited 11 Derby qualifiers whose DLI profiles, while not necessarily distinguishable from one another, were clearly superior to the rest of the field. Five of those 11–Animal Kingdom, Nehro, Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford, and Master of Hounds–finished in that order. Furthermore, nine of the top 12 finishers were among those 11 with superior DLI profiles. As I recall, even during its glory years, dosage had a lot nearer misses than that.

Of course, the profiles would be more satisfying if, like the individual indexes that constitute them, they would do a better job of ranking the female lines, on the whole. But, how do you compare the profile of Animal Kindom’s dam line, which consists of individual DILs ranging from 4.0 to almost 5.0 for the third through the seventh dams, with Nehro, whose indexes of 1.0 to 3.0 for the first through the third dams lead back to a fourth dam whose DLI is 13.5?

If we had known that on this occasion consistency across the dam line would be better than a big number in the background (and who’s to say it’s not!), then Jackie and I might have taken Animal Kindom on top of Nehro, instead of the other way around–and hit the super!

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