A week ago today, TRC launched a revolutionary new statistical rankings system, TRC Global Rankings, a comprehensive system that produces a rolling weekly set of standings for each of four categories - jockeys, trainers, owners and stallions - based on results in all the Graded and Group races in all the major racing countries around the world over the previous three years.
We have arrived at an industry-standard system that truly reflects the impact jockeys, trainers, owners and stallions have been making over a three-year period.
Simply put, it all depends on how well their representatives, the horses, are running. The amount of prize money they win is of no consequence, the reputation of the races they take part in is immaterial if the quality of the horses is not up to scratch, the odds that they start at are irrelevant.
Today there are international racing festivals in all major jurisdictions throughout the world. Every major bloodstock sales company and auction house now considers marketing to international owners as a key element of their marketing strategy.
The primary goal of Thoroughbred Racing Commentary when it was launched was to provide insightful journalism and analytical content for the rapidly growing interest in international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. We believe that the TRC Global Rankings are a major contribution to the broader understanding of international racing.
Despite the growth of the international scope of Thoroughbred racing, horse racing is the one major sport that did not have any world rankings for its human participants. That all changes with the introduction of the TRC Global Rankings. At the heart of these computations are the Racing Post Ratings (RPRs). These merit ratings are widely accepted as a good measure of the level horses run to in the best races around the world.
The TRC Global Rankings were the brainchild of Paul Roberts, of Turnberry Consulting Ltd, who did the early conceptual development and planning for this ambitious project. The mathematics and the algorithm that drives the rankings are the work of racing technical analyst James Willoughby, a regular contributor to TRC.
If you have any desire to learn the many applications that may serve your interest or business in Thoroughbred racing, I very strongly recommend that you read How the TRC Rankings Work, which is written by Willoughby.
For my American colleagues and readers, I would like to make a few comments on the current rankings for each of the four categories.
The U.S. has three riders in the top 11 in the current rankings. Javier Castellano is the leading U.S. jockey in earnings in the U.S. and is the highest U.S.-ranked jockey in the fifth position in the TRC Global Rankings list.
Florent Geroux is fifth in U.S. earnings to date but is the second highest in these rankings at #8. Geroux is a rising star in the American jockey colony. For example, this summer he won all four Graded races on the Arlington Million undercard.
Rounding out the top three U.S.-based jockeys is Hall of Famer John R. Velazquez, who is 11th.
Each rider listed has a drop-down menu with 19 additional categories, including owner, trainer, horse for all of his/her Graded or Group races for the last three years. This is an invaluable, easy-to-use resource for handicappers, owners and trainers reviewing the records of every jockey in international competition.
The top six owners on the TRC Global Rankings are: 1) Coolmore, 2) Godolphin, 3) Al Shaqab Racing, 4) Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, 5) Juddmonte, and 6) HH Aga Khan. These are well established Thoroughbred owners who race in multiple jurisdictions at the highest level.
The highest-ranked U.S. owners are Stonestreet Stables at #17, based largely on their U.S. division. With their recent success at Royal Ascot and their racing program in Ireland, the U.K. and Australia, Stonestreet would appear to be destined to move up the TRC Global Rankings in the future.
Second highest U.S. owner at #21 is Kenneth L and Sarah K Ramsey. The Ramseys have performed brilliantly with their home-bred racing program, which has recently expanded to Europe.
Joint third-ranked U.S. owner at #24 are Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, who have had great success building an American operation based on astute yearling sales purchases, and Hronis Racing LLC, who have had important successes with Accelerate and Stellar Wind.
As with the other three categories, each owner has a drop-down menu that provides detail on all of the graded/group racing activity over the last three years.
This is the strongest ranking category for U.S.-based participants, which will come as no surprise. Fresh off his first Saratoga training title with a record 40 winners, Chad Brown is the highest-ranked U.S. trainer at #3. Brown narrowly leads two Hall of Famers in Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher, who are tied at #6.
Once again there is a treasure trove of information in the drop-down menu of the trainers’ owners, jockeys, horses, races, etc. over the last three years in Graded/Group races.
There is a wealth of data and analysis in the sire rankings. One interesting side note is that six of the top 10 stallions in the world reside primarily in Ireland, a country of 4+ million people. This includes the top-rated stallion in the world, Galileo, who stands at Coolmore.
The U.S. stallions rank very well in the current ranking of top 20 stallions. Tapit, who stands at Gainesway, is ranked #4 and Medaglia d’Oro (Darley America) is ranked #6. The U.S. stallions dominate the remaining top 20 stallion positions with seven stallions occupying positions #11-20.
Willoughby makes a good point regarding the TRC Stallion Rankings:
“Yes, we want to reflect the world order among stallions at any given time, but our principle aim is to project who is going to sire the big winners next week. So, TRC World Rankings for sires emphasize the recency of a stallion’s achievements, as well as its efficiency, because our past research shows that the average rating of a sire’s offspring (captured by our metric tRPR in the main rankings table) is a leading indicator of Group or Graded-race success.
“So, we will have sires like Lope De Vega, Uncle Mo and the German Adlerlug higher than you might find them in conventional assessments by the aggregate because they are all good now and have numbers which suggest they are a force to be reckoned with.”
So these are the four category rankings that will be updated each week with the prior week’s results. TRC Global Rankings are sufficiently robust to be able to generate subsets of the main data to produce precise reports by country, racing surface, race distances, etc. These reports will be developed and written weekly by Willoughby and other TRC experts.
The first such report is an analysis of U.S. races only, where we break down sires by overall American ranking and then further break down their U.S. ranking on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces. In the U.S. for the three-year ranking period, there were 750 Graded races on dirt, 518 on turf and 62 on synthetic surfaces. The paucity of synthetic Graded races makes any comparisons statistically challenging. The intention of this analysis is to investigate the relationship between a sire’s potency on dirt and turf
The #1 ranked overall U.S. sire is Tapit. Interestingly, Tapit is the #1 ranked dirt sire and the #8 ranked turf sire. One might well conclude that Tapit’s progeny would fare very well running in Europe as well as the U.S.
Conversely, Curlin is the #2 ranked stallion overall in the U.S., and he ranks #2 on dirt as well but #94 on the turf. Similarly, Bernardini, the #7 ranked overall U.S. stallion, is #3 on dirt but #207 on turf.
It should be noted that these ratings not only reflect the ability of the stallion but also the mares that are selected to be bred to the stallions.
Turning to the turf, City Zip is the #1 rated stallion. He is #14 on dirt and the #6 ranked U.S. sire overall.
Perhaps the most balanced sire on turf and dirt is Medaglia d’Oro, who is #3 overall, #5 on dirt and #6 on turf.
Finally, the most extreme dirt/turf rankings among the top 30 U.S. sires belong to Unbridled Song, who is #12 overall, #9 on dirt and #482 on turf.
Pioneerof The Nile is clearly a sire on the rise. With just 78 starts from 26 runners, he comes in at #8 overall, and #11 on both dirt and turf.
Clearly the TRC Global Rankings can provide analysis and information far beyond the pure four category rankings.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this introduction to the TRC Global Rankings. I encourage you to read all the links that I have provided and to navigate through each of the four categories.
The TRC Global Rankings provide the top 500 individuals in order in each category, and I encourage you to venture beyond the top 100 to get a richer and more detailed view of the information that is available. I find it compelling and a great help in developing a deeper understanding of the performances across the spectrum of international racing.
Finally, on any of the TRC Global Rankings pages, you will see an invitation to Contact us with your feedback. We are very interested in any questions, thoughts, suggestions or complaints you may have, including any ideas you may have about reports we could be generating to make better use of the data.