From a biologist's point of view, the crucial formative event in Thoroughbred history occurred in the second half of the 17th century: the invention of regularized performance testing by the English king Charles II. While horse racing had been practiced in all horse-breeding countries since time immemorial, the distances run, the terrain, the weights borne and other crucial factors were not uniform--certainly not on a national level. Under Charles' influence, England became the first country in the world to possess not only a set of written rules for racing, but numerous racetracks to accommodate the sport, all built to the same basic specifications.
By the King's rules, the work required of the horses was not only uniform, it was physiologically demanding--meaning that only a few horses would have what it took to succeed. Specifically, Charles promoted heat racing, a form that demands strong, sound horses possessed of great stamina and "heart." His rules mandated that horses complete at least two, and possibly as many as four, courses in a single day, each heat being more than four miles long. Further, every horse carried some 160 pounds--well beyond the weights borne by modern flat-track racers. Contests were initially open to mature horses of any breeding, because no one knew exactly which strains would be able to "hold speed over a distance of ground."
Heat racing predates the modern concepts of pedigree and breed registration; the King and other early breeders did not care what bloodlines the horses came from as long as they proved capable of doing the job. In short--like good biologists--they were letting the test tell them which horses, and which bloodlines, they should prefer. It took about 50 years to identify an array of consistent winners; all of them turned out to derive from crosses of Turkmene sires upon Hobby, Barb or Hobby x Barb mares. Other early contenders, including the Spanish Jennet, crosses on Chapman horses (Cleveland Bays) and Arabians or half-Arabians, were eliminated not because they were bad horses but because they could not win under the conditions set forth by the King.
This is the beauty of performance testing: It is a process by which horses suitable for a specific task may be clearly identified. In the terminology of evolutionary theory, the King's rules constituted a set of "selective conditions" that were just as ruthlessly efficient as the "law of the jungle" by which the lion brings down the slowest and weakest antelope.
Thanks to royal patronage as well as general popularity, heat racing, also called "King's Plate racing," became the most prestigious and well-rewarded equine competition in England. The need for maintenance and enforcement of the rules, the upkeep of racetracks as well as the accurate recording of the pedigrees of successful runners were the impetus for the formation of the British Jockey Club, which may have been in existence as early as 1710, certainly by 1750.
King's Plate racing maintained its high prestige and popularity for about a hundred years, during which the conformation, physiology and temperament we associate with the Thoroughbred became fixed in the population. The popular conception of the origin of horse breeds is that a few "prepotent" founder stallions stamp their impression upon a breed and thus create it. This is not at all how it really works; the operative concept is "fixation," which means that the number of alleles--alternative DNA combinations or alternative genes--that code for certain key traits is reduced, perhaps even to only one for each trait, so that conformation, physiology and temperament become more uniform throughout the population. As more and more traits become "fixed," any mating between members of the population will produce a foal who grows to look not only like his parents, but like other members of the population. At this point the population is "breeding true," and we can rightly refer to it as "a breed."
Performance testing in the form of heat racing neatly dovetails with the genetic reality, because in a horse race there can be only one winner; in each year's racing season, there can be only one champion. If only champions and top winners are allowed to breed, the number of different alleles is automatically reduced. If the rules or "selective conditions" remain uniform year to year, and winning sires continue to get the overwhelming number of bookings, breed characteristics will become fixed in a relatively short span of time. The breed will be established upon a very firm footing, moreover, if there are many broodmares available for winning sires to cover.
In Thoroughbred history, this is exactly what happened. Initially, breeders tried every likely looking broodmare they could lay their hands upon. The majority of English broodmares during the late 17th and early 18th century were Hobbies, some common "pads" but a few of royal racing strains. Other mares were of the old English Running-Horse breeding, which was Hobby x Barb. Some were drafty, common cart-horses or "hacks"; a few were of the specialized Chapman or Cleveland Bay breeding. In short, the mare population brought in much more genetic variability than all the Turkmenes or part-Turkmenes could muster, even though several dozen of these elite sires were used.
Many of the foals so produced did not, of course, prove race worthy, because in conformation and physiology, they too much resembled their dams. Some horses, especially out of Chapman mares, helped to found what eventually became a specialized subgroup of Thoroughbreds used not for flat-track racing but for foxhunting, hunter-pace, timber racing and by the cavalry. Taller and heavier than typical flat-track racers, today these Thoroughbreds are also seen in jumping, combined training and dressage competitions. Others were smaller but still "punchy," lacking the long-bodied, angular, flat-muscled look of the racehorse (and the physiology that usually accompanies that conformation). So many of these were produced in the first decades of the 18th century that the type was given a name: Cob. Once again, the salient point from a biologist's point of view is that Cobs and Hunters were systematically removed from the population of horses that would breed on--those who would be allowed to continue to shape the destiny of the racing Thoroughbred.
MATERNAL DNA AND TAIL-FEMALE BLOODLINES
From the very beginning, any horse who could win in King's Plate racing was worth big money, both while on the track and later as a sire. Thus in the early 18th century, for the first time in western Europe, it became important to know a horse's exact ancestry because while part of a racehorse's success depends upon having race-adapted conformation, another part--including the size and efficiency of the heart and lungs and the blood and tissue chemistry that underpins muscle physiology--is hidden and is often better predicted by the pedigree than by conformation alone. The most useful pedigrees accurately record not only the names of ancestors, but their accomplishments in terms of number of starts, length of the course, estimated maximum and average speed, number of heats run and placements. To this, modern pedigrees add conformation photographs.
The operative term in the above paragraph is "accurately." Unfortunately, even though the rule in Thoroughbred breeding has from the beginning been that mares must receive live cover, supposedly witnessed by honest and reliable persons, errors have been common. The circumstances are easy to imagine-everything from large farms having similar--looking mares, to simple misrecording, to deliberate deception for economic gain. In 2002, Emmeline Hill, PhD, and colleagues in the genetics lab at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, published a study based on maternal DNA (mtDNA) that uncovered probable errors in Thoroughbred pedigrees as officially recorded in the General Stud Book. Using tissue samples from hundreds of living Thoroughbreds, the researchers discovered "confusions" in the identity of certain foundation mares. In some cases it appears that the same animal was known by or recorded under two different names; in others, a mare other than the one given credit appears to have been the actual dam.
These confusions have profound implications, and not just for those who base multimillion-dollar purchase decisions on "tail female" ancestry. A fundamental rule in the study of biological populations is that, because their alleles represent all the variability within the gene pool, early ancestors--the "founder population"--determine the maximum number of alternative alleles in subsequent generations. Unless new blood is added--and in the case of the Thoroughbred, it has not been added to any significant degree in England, America or anywhere else since the beginning of the 18th century--the gene pool of the founder population will disproportionately leverage the capabilities and appearance of the breed.
Because of the Thoroughbred's value in racing as well as the general athletic ability that made it useful as an "improver" or desirable outcross, population numbers of the breed continued to increase through the 18th and 19th centuries. Thoroughbreds were shipped to all English colonies, including those in America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. They went to Mexico, Argentina, Arabia and Japan. It soon became evident that some method of sorting through the hundreds of colts offered at auction would be helpful, and several methods were tried. In 1895, Bruce Lowe, an Australian pedigree researcher, published Breeding Horses by the Figure System, which became the basis for many high-dollar purchases and breeding decisions. Taking the complete list of winners of the oldest English classics--the St. Leger Stakes, Epsom Derby Stakes and Epsom Oaks--Lowe grouped them by tail-female descent, tracing their lineages back to founder mares who lived in the late 17th century. Tabulating the total number of wins for each lineage, he found that the highest number came from Tregonwell's Natural (i.e., imported, purebred) Barb Mare. This he designated as Family no. 1; Family no. 2, with the next highest total, came from the Burton Barb Mare, and so on through 43 mare bloodlines.
Few of today's pedigree experts agree that Lowe's family numbers are a reliable way to predict which horse is going to win at Epsom Downs, but readers who wish to do pedigree research online will find that the family numbers are still used because they provide a convenient way to keep track of mare families and to trace descent through the distaff side of the pedigree. Lowe's emphasis on the tail-female is considered very sound by geneticists as well as by knowledgeable horse breeders worldwide, because in horses as in most other mammals, the foal inherits most of its DNA from its dam, and 90 percent of the DNA that governs crucial physiological processes such as muscle metabolism comes from the dam. In the century since Lowe's original publication, his ideas have been expanded and updated to include Thoroughbred mare lines worldwide (see "References," page 63).
TRACING ANCESTRY THROUGH SIRE LINES
Sire-line classification in horse breeds is a reflection of the general historical preference in European culture for males over females. One reason for confusion over the identity of founder mares is that many were not even given names. Often they were known--exactly as slaves or other chattel were known-by the name of their owner or breeder: "the Lowther Barb mare," "a Sedbury mare," "Miss D'Arcy's pet mare." In a similar way, fillies were frequently called after their sire: "Byerley Turk mare," "Place's White Turk mare," "Old Montague mare." Sometimes, they were "almost" given names, being identified by particular color or markings: "Old Bald Peg," "Cream Cheeks," "Grey Wilkes." While there are numerous engravings and paintings of Thoroughbred founder sires, the first portraits of Thoroughbred mares do not appear until the time of Wootton and Stubbs in the mid-18th century, more than a hundred years after the time of Old Bald Peg, and even then the female animal is almost never named.
The situation is no different today; stallions are far more often photographed than mares, and breed fanciers throughout the British Commonwealth countries and in America tend to remember names in sire-lines rather than memorizing great mare lineages as the Bedouins do for their Arabians. In this article, I follow the custom of sire-line representation not because I think it's wisest, but because we like to present lots of photos so that the reader may gain an eye for different Thoroughbred bloodlines. It is also true that in a breed where winning the Derby (either Kentucky or Epsom) is of supreme significance, most of the winners have in fact been stallions. The race may be carried forward in the wombs of broodmares, but at the racetrack, it is usually the stallion who winds up wearing the roses.
The Jockey Club defines a Thoroughbred horse as one who descends from one or more of the following three stallions: Herod (or King Herod), foaled in 1758, a descendant of the Byerley (or Byerly) Turk, 1689; Matchem, foaled 1748, a descendant of the Godolphin Barb, 1724; or Eclipse, foaled 1764, a descendant of the Darley "Arabian," 1700. The Darley line is today by far the largest, indeed so large that it will take the next two articles in this series to cover it. In those essays, we will see how most of today's successful Derby winners descend from a single Darley-line subdivision.
THE IMPACT OF CHANGE IN SELECTIVE CONDITIONS
The historical photos presented in this article epitomize the Thoroughbred not as it is today (especially in America), but as it was originally. The portraits of Eclipse, Matchem and especially Herod instantly identify them as Thoroughbreds--they could belong to no other breed. Here we find the narrow but extraordinarily deep, keel-shaped chest, the long "slashing" shoulders and high, knifelike withers that help so fundamentally to give a horse the kind of stride that eats up distance. Here we find the relatively long cannon bones that set the horse up a little high on its legs. Here is the "flat" muscling and the big, boxy hindquarters with prominent points of hip and long points of buttock that give the breed its powerful racing "motor." Here are the long, rather narrow heads with thin jowl, fine throatlatch, prominent eye and nostril, and pricked ears; here the long, flat necks with scant crest or mane. Here, too, is the body balance, not level or uphill as in the Jennet or other breeds meant strictly for pleasure-riding, but slightly rump-high, angling just enough downhill from core of loin to base of neck to assure good traction during acceleration for both the hind and fore feet. At the same time, the degree to which the horse's body balance runs downhill is noticeably less than that in the sprint-racer as exemplified by the modern Quarter Horse--a subject we will explore in upcoming installments.
Thoroughbreds were originally valued as horses who could "carry speed over a distance of ground," the distance in question being much longer than any modern flat-track race, although shorter than the shortest modern Enduro races. In the text above, I have emphasized the importance of the conditions under which horses are raced, which amounts to a specification of the work expected of them as well as a measure of the physical demands placed upon them. The conformation we see in founder stallion portraits is that of the stayer, not the sprinter, and it was as a stayer pure and simple that the Thoroughbred originated.
Nonetheless, horse races are won by fast horses, no matter the distance and whether or not they have stayer capabilities. Within 50 years of the inception of heat racing, and as a direct result of the "sorting" of winners vs. losers that is the automatic result of performance testing, fast horses were identified. Flying Childers (1715), Regulus (1739) and Eclipse (1764) were heat-racers who went long careers unbeaten. Unfortunately, the term of supreme importance to handicappers, bettors, breeders, owners and fans was then--and continues to be--"unbeaten." Thus began a drift, which continues today, toward ever-shorter courses covered by horses who show higher speed as measured in miles per hour.
It is of interest to compare the deepest roots of the pedigrees of Herod, Matchem, Eclipse and other famous British racehorses of the late 17th and early 18th centuries; what did they have in their genome that not only conferred stamina (to prevail over four-mile heats), but also made them fast? Breed historian Alexander Mackay-Smith refers to the pedigree of Flying Childers and his full sibling of the next year, Bartlett's Childers, as "the taproot pedigree" for Thoroughbred speed. To get these stallions, the Darley covered the mare Betty Leedes, who traces in direct tail female line to two great sources of speed: the mare Old Bald Peg (foaled about 1650), and the stallion Place's White Turk (foaled about 1655). The Childers' pedigree contains three crosses to the former, two to the latter. By contrast the stallion Regulus, foaled 1739, has no line going directly to either Old Bald Peg or to Place's White Turk. Substituted for those are three crosses to mares who, like Old Bald Peg, were of Hobby x Barb breeding, one to Bruce Lowe's no. 1 Tregonwell Barb mare, plus two to D'Arcy's White Turk, sired by the HelmsleyTurk.
Flying Childers and Regulus set the bar for champions of the early 18th century. Matchem (1748) and Herod (1758) succeeded under the same grueling conditions. While Herod's root-pedigree contains plenty of Hobby speed-blood, with nine crosses directly to Old Bald Peg and nine more to other Hobby-related mares, it also contains seven crosses to Place's White Turk, two to the HelmsleyTurk through D'Arcy's White Turk, and 13 more to other Turkmene stallions, plus eight crosses to Barbs. In all, Herod's pedigree represents a nice balance between stayer and sprinter. Matchem's pedigree is, by contrast, heavily tilted toward the stayer end of the spectrum: It contains four crosses to Old Bald Peg, 10 to other Hobby-related horses, seven to Place's White Turk, five to other Turkmenes, and nine to Barbs. The percentage of Barb blood in Matchem's pedigree is more than twice as high as that of Herod and over five times as high as that in Eclipse. Since Barbs were noted especially for endurance capability, it is little wonder that Matchem succeeded in heat racing. Both Matchem and Herod carry far higher percentages of Barb blood than does Eclipse.
It is from Eclipse that we get speed, for his pedigree is loaded with Hobby crosses; in it we find almost as much Hobby blood as Turkmene, and in this he bears striking resemblance to both Quarter Horses and to the North American gaited breeds. Besides 19 crosses directly to Old Bald Peg, Eclipse shows 45 crosses to other Hobby x Barb horses. He has 21 crosses to Place's White Turk and 13 to the HelmsleyTurk through D'Arcy's White Turk, plus 31 additional crosses to other Turkmene stallions, but only seven crosses to Barbs. With all that Hobby-based sprinter blood, it is little wonder that when heat-racing went out of fashion beginning in the middle of the 19th century and raw speed became more important than endurance capability, Eclipse-line breeding would prove dominant. As a result, today Herod- and Matchem-line horses have become alarmingly rare.
Photographs presented in this article are necessarily of horses who lived not during the era of the King's Plates, but a century later during the early years of classic distance racing in the late 19th century, a time that coincides with the invention of photography. Yet because these horses inherited conformation and capabilities from heat-racing champions, most of them still showed "stayer" conformation similar to the foundation stallions. In our next installment, we will see how another hundred years of selection for "speed and speed alone" changed not only Thoroughbred physiology, but its characteristic appearance.
THOROUGHBRED FOUNDATION SIRES
Foaled 1748, Matchem was by Cade, a son of the Godolphin Barb. Cade was out of Roxana by Bald Galloway (an English Running-Horse stallion or Barb x Hobby cross); he by the St. Victor Barb out of Grey Whynot, she by Whynot (a Hobby) out of a royal (Hobby) mare. Roxana was out of a mare by the Ancaster Turk, out of Cream Cheeks, she by the Leedes "Arabian" by the D'Arcy Yellow Turk by the Helmsley Turk, upon a mare by Spanker, tracing back to Place's White Turk and Old Bald Peg. Matchem was out of a mare by Croft's Partner, he by Jigg by the Byerley Turk. His granddam in the tail-female line was Brown Farewell, by Makeless by the Oglethorpe "Arabian," he by D'Arcy's Yellow Turk, upon a mare by the same and out of a "natural," i.e., imported or purebred, Barb mare. Brown Farewell was out of a mare by Brimmer, by D'Arcy's Yellow Turk by Place's White Turk, and out of a royal Hobby mare; upon a mare by Place's White Turk, out of a Dodsworth mare tracing to a natural Barb stallion.
Herod, foaled 1758, by Tartar by Croft's Partner by Jigg by the Byerley Turk. Tartar's dam was Meliora by Fox by Clumsey by Hautboy by D'Arcy's White Turk by the Helmsley Turk. Meliora's dam was Milkmaid by Wharton's Snail, by Whynot by the Fenwick Barb; out of Shields' Galloway by the Bald Galloway (an English Running-Horse), and tracing back in tail female to a royal Hobby mare. Herod was out of Cypron by Blaze by Flying Childers, whose "taproot" pedigree was presented in full in last month's installment. Blaze was out of the Confederate Filly, she by Grey Grantham, by the Brownlow Turk; out of a mare by Rutland's Black Barb, upon a mare by the Leedes "Arabian." Cypron was out of Salome, by Bethell's "Arabian" by an imported Turcoman-Arabian of the "diplomatic breeding" discussed in the last installment. Salome was out of a mare by Graham's Champion, he by Harpur's Barb, tracing to Place's White Turk and Old Bald Peg; and out of a mare by the Darley "Arabian" upon a mare tracing to the Helmsley Turk and royal Hobby mares.
Eclipse, foaled 1764, by Marske by Squirt by Bartlett's "Bleeding" Childers by the Darley "Arabian" and out of Betty Leedes, whose pedigree was presented in full in the last installment. Squirt was out of a mare by Snake by the Stradling (also called the Lister) Turk, out of a mare by Hautboy, whose lineage is given above under Herod. The Snake mare was out of Grey Wilkes, also by Hautboy, tracing in tail-female to the Helmsley Turk and several Sedbury royal (Hobby) mares. Marske was out of the Ruby mare by Hutton's Blacklegs by Hutton's Bay Turk, out of a mare by Rutland's Coneyskins. Coneyskins was by the Lister Turk out of Clubfoot, tracing through Jigg to the Byerley Turk. The Ruby mare was out of a mare by Bay Bolton, he by Grey Hautboy, by Hautboy upon an imported Barb mare. The Bay Bolton mare was out of a mare by Makeless. Eclipse was out of Spilletta by Regulus by the Godolphin Barb; Regulus was out of Grey Robinson by Bald Galloway upon Grey Whynot, she tracing to the Fenwick Barb and to several royal Hobby mares. Grey Robinson was out of a mare by Snake. Spilletta was out of a mare named Mother Western, by Easby's Snake, by Snake. Mother Western was out of The Old Montague Mare by D'Arcy's Old Montague, by Place's White Turk. The dam of Old Montague Mare, by Hautboy, traced in tail-female to D'Arcy's Yellow Turk and several Sedbury royal Hobby mares.
CHAMPIONS DESCENDED FROM MATCHEM
This chart shows champion lines descending from Matchem. Both Matchem's and Herod's lines are increasingly rare today but are nonetheless represented by legendary and charismatic turf champions whose amazing physical abilities should be appreciated and more often used by breeders. In biological terms, the loss of a bloodline represents the irretrievable loss of biodiversity. In social, philosophical and economic terms it represents a shortsighted willingness to damage the overall health of the breed in trade for immediate profit.
Matchem-line horses are distinguished conformationally by height and a certain degree of massiveness, especially through the hindquarters. They are relatively long-bodied. Stallions are very masculine-looking with bigger crests than most Thoroughbreds---inheriting this trait from Matchem's grandsire, the Godolphin Barb, along with more of a tendency than most other Thoroughbred lines to gain weight upon rich pasture.
Matchem-line stallions have heavy jowls and broad foreheads. Knees and hocks are broad and strong, the feet tend to be good, and there tends to be more angulation in the hind limb than in other lines. The temperament is "fair-minded" and honest; these are very straightforward horses to work with in training. They learn readily and will give their all for praise from a trainer they respect.
CHAMPIONS DESCENDED FROM HEROD
This chart shows champion lines descending from Herod. Of the three foundation stallions, Herod's portrait shows him to have been the most "Thoroughbred-looking" of the lot; as discussed in the previous installment in this series, this is because Herod's ancestor, the Byerley Turk--like most Turkmene horses--looks like a Thoroughbred.
Diomed, born in 1777, was imported to the United States at the advanced age of 21. Considered nearly worthless in England--though a multi-champion in his youth, winning the Epsom Derby in 1780 and 10 other important races--he was given up for a mere $250. Once in the United States, he became the ancestor not only of the last of the great heat-racing champions but through his son Sir Archy of an American dynasty of partbred horses related to the American Saddlebred. Diomed was by Florizel out of a mare known only as "Sister to Juno" a.k.a. "Pastorella's Dam" or "Mare by Spectator." She was out of Horatia by Blank by the Godolphin Barb; we will come back to Blank when we discuss his full brother Janus, the Thoroughbred founder of the American Quarter Horse.
Lexington, 1850 (Boston x Alice Carneal). Lexington is inbred to Diomed, tracing to him through Sir Archy on both sides of the pedigree. Lexington is one of the greatest of all American-born racehorses, whose name appears in over 75 percent of American Thoroughbred pedigrees. He was the last great heat-racer, still in competition and winning at age 18. He lived to be 25 years old, and his skeleton is mounted and on display at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Numerous reports give this horse a difficult character, though not as bad as that of his sire, Boston, whose temperament was reported to be "foul"--a most likely result when an innately aggressive horse is not handled with the kind of firmness that gives him clarity. Lexington was a small horse; breed researcher Anne Peters reports him as standing 15:1, but my examination of the actual skeleton indicates that his true height was closer to 14:3, not uncommon among 18th and 19th century Thoroughbreds and particularly characteristic of horses tracing back to the Godolphin Barb, who was even smaller. Even over "classic" distances, and despite the outstanding recent successes of horses like Zenyatta who stand over 17 hands, it is not height that is the conformational basis for speed but rather the strength and flexibility of the horse's back (see "Secrets of Secretariat's Speed," EQUUS 434).
The Tetrarch, 1911 (Roi Herode x Vahren). The first thing noticeable about this horse is the odd spotting that resembles Appaloosa coloration but is not--he is correctly registered as gray. Equine color geneticist Phil Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, considers spots such as seen in The Tetrarch's coat to be merely a transient phase that manifests temporarily as the pelage" ages toward white. Many horsemen of the early 20th century still considered any type of spotting--especially in an Arabian or Thoroughbred--to be a sign of "impure breeding," and for this reason The Tetrarch almost did not find a buyer. Looking past the spots to the wonderfully laid-back shoulder, knifelike withers carrying well back, stoutly constructed knees and hocks, and huge bone proved well for his owners, however, as the colt retired undefeated after seven starts and is considered the best British-trained 2-year-old of the 20th century.
My Babu, 1945, (Djebel x Perfume) brings us closer to the present. It is instructive to compare this horse to the Matchem-line stallions Hurry On and Man o' War--notice how this horse stands closer to the ground. He is more similar to Mr. Busher, and for good reason: On the distaff side Mr. Busher traces to the Eclipse-line stallion Teddy, while the distaff line of My Babu goes to the Eclipse-line stallion Phalaris, whose enormous influence on modern racing we will study in an upcoming installment.
Ambiorix, 1946 (Tourbillon x Lavendula). Similar to My Babu but shorter in the back and more massive through the hindquarters, this stallion has very good bone. With a lovely temperament, he was nonetheless a champion in France and England as a 2- and 3-year-old. Like My Babu he traces in distaff to Polymelus, sire of Phalaris and grandsire of Nearco, and very significantly Ambiorix proved during his European career to be more capable of winning short races of eight to 10 furlongs than at classic distances. For this reason he was considered ideal for the American market; imported in 1950 he became a leading sire of American stakes winners.
Lowe, Bruce. 1895. Breeding Horses by the Figure System (edited by William Allison). London, The Field and Queen (H. Cox), Ltd. 263 pp. with numerous illustrations.
The American Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. 1935. Tabulated Pedigrees of Thoroughbred Horses. Lexington, by the Association, in numerous volumes with continuing updates. 1935 is the date of publication for Vol. I, a duplicate of the so-called "Polish Tables" published by the Society for Promoting Horse Breeding in Poland. These were further expanded by Capt. Kazimierz Bobinski and Count Stefan Zamoyski in Family Tables of Racehorses (1953), which expanded the Lowe tabulations from Britain to Thoroughbreds worldwide. Supplementary volumes continue to be published (for example, in 1990 by the Societe d'Encouragement pour l'Amelioration des Races de Chevaux in France, Torn Shirai, ed.).
Several websites give reliable information on Thoroughbreds. Be sure to see Anne Peters' excellent articles at www. tbheritage.com. Photos can be downloaded for study from Wikipedia and from www.sporthorse-data. com. Pedigree information can be gleaned from the wiki-style website www. allbreedpedigree.com (occasionally inaccurate so use with caution). Jockey Club membership permits online access to officially-certified pedigrees at www. registry.jockeyclub.com.
By Deb Bennett, PhD