Changes in Thoroughbred Breeding Over Triple Crown Years

May 8, 2018

Credit oldhamtours. com

The Kentucky Derby victory of Justify keeps his unblemished winning record intact and generates discussion about a possible Triple Crown title. 

Meanwhile, Hermitage Farm situated just outside of Louisville, sold its first yearling at public auction in 1937. Bill Landes began his career at Hermitage 40 years later and has been there for more than four decades.  

Landes is convinced breeding a Derby winner is far from a science. “We try to take our edge with statistics and come up with the best blood lines. But, there is an intangible, there is something in a horse’s heart that has yet to be, be able to be measured,” said Landes. 

Landes says Kentucky Derby winner Justify may not see a big challenges in the Preakness, but the veteran breeder says the Belmont could be, quote, “a whole different deal.” 

He believes speculation of a Triple Crown for Kentucky Derby winner Justify is just that for now.

American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015 after a 37 year drought. Landes says record breaking Secretariat in 1973 was bred with the owner and breeder on the same farm. A lot has changed since then. “As opposed to farms developing their own bloodlines and developing family, all of a sudden you got on a commercial bent that maybe you didn’t develop your family, you just created a mating on based on what would bring the most money at auction,” noted Landes. 

Still, Landes says breeding a successful Thoroughbred for racing is not a science, but instead, is what he calls ‘touch, art, and feel.”