I always assumed that the best race horses simply had the best genes. It seemed like the kind of domain where nature trumped nurture, where the genetics of fast twitch fibers and heart size was more important than the details of training. But my assumptions were exactly backwards:
The offspring of expensive stallions owe their success more to how they are reared, trained and ridden than good genes, a study has found.
Only 10% of a horse’s lifetime winnings can be attributed to their bloodline, research in Biology Letters shows.
By far the biggest factor was the horse’s environment – the way they were trained, the choice of races entered and which jockeys were employed.
Hat Tip: Kottke