Stallion Timelines - Brief Introduction

Author: Jana Nemeckova, published: 11th January 2018, last edit: 9th October 2018

Ever since the creation of thoroughbred, sirelines come into existence, grow, weaken, and disappear. We know a lot of them died out already, and we're used to comfortably leave out the fact that the same cycle inevitably awaits our current and favorite ones. Thoroughbred sirelines are a fascinating thing, and it goes far beyond the creation of dynasties. Sirelines help to create each other, but also kill each other. At different times, in different places, and under different circumstances.

These contexts are one of the hardest things to follow because the 19th and the 20th century brought a wide range of sirelines. And they come very far from history, where only real pedigree enthusiasts are willing to go nowadays. So I came up with one thing which might help our readers to orientate in them: graphic timelines of particular thoroughbred sirelines.

The original intention was to compare life cycles of particular sirelines in time, and also to map sequences of major thoroughbred sires. Every sire is dependent on bloodlines he can "meet" in his mares - which means on sires which preceded him chronologically, a generation by generation. And every sire is also limited by his direct competition - stallions, which are at stud in the same period.

I always intended to create timelines as stand-alone content. However, the whole 'breeding' section of our website developed rapidly, and it turned out the timeline files will be an excellent complement to the bloodlines' analyses. As a result, I modified the files for these purposes. These modifications included a following of the same division of sirelines, as were established for the analysis. As a second part, several files in the 'Timelines' section were created separately for different purposes.

Graphic charts of particular sirelines remain the core of the whole section. Additionally, I transformed their source data into tables, which is the second and highly useful type of files. And as I'll explain later, both comparisons of major sires and of sirelines in time were moved into another section called 'Overviews.' I'm aware of the fact that this amount of materials can be confusing. However, they possess a scale of non-traditional views on thoroughbred breeding, and when chosen carefully according to the specific need, they can be a great help.

Also, I'd like to point out several aspects of this work.

The timelines don't show life periods of particular sires, but their periods at stud. It may sound weird, but lifetime periods are in no relation to stud careers of each stallion. Neither to their role in the whole sireline. The second thing is that these years at stud doesn't correspond with the foal crops of every sire. They always start and end a year earlier. Please keep this in mind.

And there's one more thing I want to make clear from the beginning: I don't like it at all, but there can be errors.

The reason is simple. It's impossible to check or sometimes even find the correct information for each stallion, especially for those less important or local ones. It's easy to find exact data about Bold Ruler, but speaking of some stallion from Japan or Australia, which sired only a handful of foals, the situation is different.

One of the most common problems with local stallions is that we can't be sure when exactly his breeding career ended. Another thing which complicates the situation is whether to count the final (and often interrupted) crops with only a few foals in or not. Sometimes there's even a notice the stallion was pensioned from stud duties a year or two after the birth his last trackable foals. All these things can create small but inevitable inaccuracies. In the end, I decided to put the year of birth of last detected and verifiable foals in records. Still, it doesn't always have to correspond with the actual pensioning of the stallion from stud duties.

I seriously dislike this situation. I prefer precise work and exact data. But I have to admit these 'errors' actually don't matter that much. Because what matters the most in these files is context. And you will probably agree that whether some stallion's career ended one year earlier or later, it doesn't change anything in the life cycle of the whole line.

Careers of virtually all modern stallions can be mapped very well. Still, we welcome any cooperation on this subject. In case you feel something is wrong or worth making more accurate, contact us: errors@racing-library.org.

I also had to take several compromises during work on these files. Another original idea was to make these lines strictly chronological. But in big lines like Nasrullah's, it resulted in the indescribable mess. So I created several branches within each chart, which should distinguish the main directions within each sireline. In my opinion, this will add to the better understandability of the lines, not vice versa.

And finally, we did our best to adjust these files even for small screen devices as usual. This time we were not limited only by parameters of modern technologies, which are constantly insufficient for the content of our website. In these large tables, long names of thoroughbreds are the bigger problem. You can see in any file that these names are sometimes too long even for a table cell on a big screen. But if you try to display ten cells with such a long name on a small screen? It works, but it's all both you and us can expect. Or wait until somebody enacts a rule allowing only five-letter names in thoroughbreds.