Lauren Stich’s April 11th article “Female Inbreeding Makes a Comeback” on the Daily Racing Form website (www.drf.com) brought back some fond memories of my longtime association and friendship with Leon Rasmussen. Having already known Leon for several years at the time, I attended the Owner/Trainer banquet during the Derby week of 1988 where Leon was being honored for his lifetime contribution to the breeding industry through his columns in DRF. At the end of the evening festivities, Leon and I retired to the lounge in the Hyatt Regency for a nightcap, where I approached him with the idea of starting the industry’s first publication dedicated to pedigree theory and analysis. In retrospect, I think that between my unbridled enthusiasm and the fact he realized that I had no shot of succeeding on my own, Leon graciously came out of retirement with a one-year commitment to be the showcase columnist in what was to become OwnerBreeder. That one-year commitment lasted 12 years until I sold it in 2000!
Through his weekly DRF columns, Leon had long championed what he referred to as “inbreeding to superior females through different individuals.” As a phrase of reference, this was a mouthful, which is probably why he didn’t further encumber the phrase with the rest – “within five generations”. Consequently, in the March, 1994, issue of OwnerBreeder, I christened it – the Rasmussen Factor. Now, it’s often referred to as the RF.
This year’s Kentucky Derby includes three of the top contenders who have the Rasmussen Factor – Street Sense, Nobiz Like Shobiz, and Cowtown Cat. Teuflesberg and Imawildandcrazyguy, ranked 21 and 22, respectively, in graded earnings, also have the Rasmussen Factor.
In July of 1994, we began to publish Leon’s original six-part series on the Rasmussen Factor. Any readers interested in revisiting the series need only to click here!