Ok, it may not be the 'holy grail' of pedigree analysis. In fact, it's really just a starting point, not a final destination. But after my realization a few days ago that sire data by crop simply isn't available for free, no matter how much manual work I'm willing to do, it's beginning to feel like it.
To recap, what I'm hoping to do is evaluate the predictive power of existing measures of sire success such as AEI and AEI/CI, and ultimately to come up with something that works better. In order to do that, I need to get data on multiple crops of offspring for a reasonable large group of sires. Realistically, I'd say I'll need about 50 sires included to have full confidence in my results.
Looking at the BRIS and Equineline web sites, it looks like I can get the data I need for $18 per sire. So it turns out that the holy grail costs about $900. Based on the sample reports on the BRIS site it looks like the data is human readable, but not in a good format for computer processing, so I'll probably have a long, boring data entry project to put it into Excel or Access, but that's something I can live with. If anyone with $900 to spare wants to invest in this project, I'd be happy to share the full results with you, reimburse your investment as I generate sales of the research, and throw in some free advertising on my site (if you run racing partnerships).