"Breed the best to the best and hope for the best” is an old horse racing adage regarding breeding. “As the first and most potent principle of breeding is to breed the best to the best” was cited in print in 1892. “My ambition is to breed the best to the best and secure the best possible results” was said by turf breeder james B. Haggin in 1896.
“His theory is to breed the best to the best” was said about breeder John E. Madden (1856-1929) in 1917, but it is not known when Madden first used the saying. “One of the oft-heard maxims of John E. Madden was ‘breed the best to the best and hope for the best’” was cited in print in 1941.
Wikipedia: John E. Madden
John Edward Madden (1856–1929) was a prominent American Thoroughbred and Standardbred owner, breeder and trainer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He owned Hamburg Place Stud in Lexington, Kentucky and bred five Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winners.
He was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame posthumously in 1983. He was also inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport as a trainer, breeder and owner. He is the only person to be inducted into both the Harness and Thoroughbred Halls of Fame.
1 July 1892, Idaho Register (Idaho Falls, ID), “Selection vs. In-breeding,” pg. 3, col. 3:
As the first and most potent principle of breeding is to breed the best to the best, so it is that the first and most important requisite of the successful breeder is to be able to select the best.
10 December 1896, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, “James B. Haggin on Turf Prospects,” pg. 3, col. 2:
“My ambition is to breed the best to the best and secure the best possible results.”
4 April 1898, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, “Gossip of the Turf: Active Work at the Racetracks—Theories about Breeding,” pg. 8, col. 3:
Lord Falmouth bred Derby winners to winners of the Oakes, and he had ample means to breed the best to the best.
Kentuckiana Digital Library
9 March 1917, Daily Racing Form, “John E. Madden and His Methods,” pg. 2, col. 2:
His theory is to breed the best to the best.
Kentuckiana Digital Library
17 June 1941, Daily Racing Form, “Sires and Dams” by Challenger, pg. 40, col. 2:
Breeders of earlier days had many theories or practices which are still sound today. One of the oft-heard maxims of John E. Madden was “breed the best to the best and hope for the best.”
16 September 1949, Boston (MA) Herald, “Warren Wright’s Calumet Farm Preparedness Key for Success” by Gerry Sullivan, pg. 34, col. 2:
When Wright decided to breed and race thoroughbreds, he went along with the theory, “breed the best to the best to get the best.”
6 November 1954, Boston (MA) Traveler, “Pavement Plato: Native Dancer May Make More As Sire Than Racer” by Hal Boyle (AP), pg. 10, col. 7:
In developing thoroughbreds, owners generally follow the maxim, “You breed the best to the best, and hope for the best.”
13 March 1957, Hammond (IN) Times, “Look for Calumet To Smash Turf Mark” by Pat Robinson (INS), pg. D-2, col. 5:
Mrs. Markey’s winning system is absurdly simple. She merely follows an’ancient adage of the turf which says “Breed the best to the best to get the best.”
21 January 1960, Richmond (VA) Times_Dispatch, “Sportview” by Chauncey Durden, pg. 29, col. 1:
HORSEMEN HAVE A SAYING, “Breed the best to the best and get the best.” It isn’t quite so simple as that, Says Harry F. Guggenheim, whose Cain Hoy Stable was the country’s biggest money-winner last year. Mr. Guggenheim says a little luck helps, too.
Best Sports Stories
By Irving T. Marsh and Edward Ehre
New York, NY: E. P. Dutton
No morbid mystique of the “Brave Bulls” genre has been ascribed to race-riding, partly because the trickle of racing literature has hopelessly involved itself with (1) breeding, the science of which was forever summarized in “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best”; ...
Duel for the Crown:
Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry
By Linda Carroll and David Rosner
New York, NY: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
The Calumet dynasty had been built on an old racing maxim: “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best.”
Movies to get you in the mood to watch the Kentucky Derby
Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater
Date: April 27th, 2014, 8:27 pm
By Eleanor Ringel Cater
There’s an old saying in horse racing: breed the best to the best and hope for the best.