Every year I summarize our operations for partners and those interested in our thoroughbred operations. Now that 2014 is history, and it ended in good fashion with our BJ’s Angel winning a nice race down at The Fairgrounds in December, here is the wrap up.
Our thoroughbred operations are somewhat unique in that we stand a stallion, as well as breed and race many of our own horses. I often get a kick out of others who think we are nuts to try to operate in all three disciplines. (You know nothing Jon Snow…...a stupid Game of Thrones reference for my son in law.) Nevertheless, the economic benefits of diversification are clear.
We always set a goal of hitting the six digit $100,000 purse earnings level in each of the three categories we operate in. In 2014 we missed in our racing category for the first time in many years because we reloaded our racing stables. The stables in 2014 were dominated by young two year olds. Unfortunately, two year olds fully engage the cost factors of racing but rarely race enough to support those costs. Nevertheless, our overall purse earning stable totals were Racing Stables $86,720, Breeding Stables $119,882, Stallion (Stormy Business) $159,590 and overall $366,192.
Years ago, we decided that breeders fund awards, generated by our sired and bred horses, would basically turn into an annuity over time. In other words, though we have no expenses associated with sired or bred horses if we sell them, breeder’s fund awards which are paid against purse earnings, continue to roll in. When those awards are added to the value of the horses we sell and the stud fees we collect for our stallion, the economics make sense.
Our 2014 racing operation only generated $2,478 per start, with our 35 starts. For comparison, of the 49 owners who had more than 15 starts at Canterbury last season, nearly 20% had earnings per start of less than $1,000. The median for these most active Canterbury owners was $2,416 per start.
Our breeding and stallion operations supported our “reload the racing stable” 2014 initiative. Diversification is a good thing.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.