Bold Reasoning, A Horse For The Classics

UPDATE: If you’re looking for information on Bold Reasoning’s race career, see this post.

Bold Reasoning was the sire of 64 foals produced in three crops from 1974 to 1976. Yet, close to 40 years later, Bold Reasoning shows up in the pedigree of 13 out of the 20 potential Kentucky Derby entrants for 2012.

That by itself is not an extraordinary fact. After all, 20 out of the 20 horses entered have lines tracing to Northern Dancer and 19 out of the 20 horses entered have lines tracing to Mr. Prospector (excluding Creative Cause).

What is extraordinary is while there are 13 different Northern Dancer* sirelines represented in this year’s Derby, compared with 8 for Mr. Prospector**; for Bold Reasoning there is only one – Seattle Slew.

*El Gran Senor, Danzig, Dixieland Band, Lyphard, Nice Dancer, Nijinsky II, Sadler’s Wells, Secreto, Sovereign Dancer, Storm Bird, Topsider, Viceregal, and Vice Regent. Does not include any females in the direct damline sired by Northern Dancer.
**Allen’s Prospect, Crafty Prospector, Fappiano, Forty Niner, Gone West, Gulch, Lycius, and Smart Strike. Does not include any females in the direct damline sired by Mr. Prospector.

It is not unexpected that Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector, with their respective 22 and 24-year careers at stud, would be able to exploit their apparent genetic superiority to the fullest extent possible. Between the two of them, they sired 1,841 foals. In contrast, Bold Reasoning sired 64 foals.

As all of the 13 Derby entrants with Bold Reasoning are of the Seattle Slew line, this might be the classic example of how it ‘only takes one’ to make or break a sire. That being said, Seattle Slew was not the only stallion sired by Bold Reasoning who would be of significant influence – and not just in North America. Bold Reasoning did not simply ‘get lucky.’ The best very well could have been yet to come. His legacy is remarkable when you think about it.

Without going to far into alternate history, it is clear that the thoroughbred landscape would be quite different had Seattle Slew succumbed to Colitis X back in the early part of 1978; or how different the landscape could have been had Bold Reasoning himself not prematurely passed.

Bold Reasoning (Daily Racing Form, 05/02/1972)




  1. I have oil paintings of Bold Reasoning commissioned by the breeder Leon Savage in the 70’s for sale by the family of Mr Savage. I can send photos if you are interested.

    Thank you,
    Paul D

    1. Hi Paul – Thanks for commenting! If you’re still willing to send photos of the oil paintings, I’d love to include these in the post (with full credit of course). aheadbythreeblog at gmail.

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