I often wonder why I am always amazed every time someone who is in a position of responsibility expresses an idiotic opinion. Often the opinions are simply innocent and based on what people have said for years, but it still disappoints me that responsible people do not seem desirous of discovering the truth.
This happened recently when an individual was telling a group of horsemen about how Minnesota breeders are failing to support Minnesota racing, by not breeding in greater numbers. Being who I am, I stopped him cold, telling the group that this long held myth was simply BS. As a result, I thought I'd include this information on my blog for intelligent reference.
You see, "thinking horsemen" index breeding volume. Breeding volume is represented by "State Bred" registered foals, which should be indexed against "State Bred" earnings. Earnings represent the ultimate value of foals, whether they are sold or kept by breeders for their own racing purposes. If earnings are high, foals are worth more because they sell for more as yearlings, and are also worth more in an breeder/owner's stable if kept for racing as homebreds. If earnings are low of course, the opposite is true.
By simply evaluating public Jockey Club data, it is easy to see that breeding is in decline in Minnesota, consistent with nationwide trends. Nevertheless, Minnesota remains one of the leading states in the country when breeding volume is properly indexed against earnings. In fact, 2015 published results indicate that Minnesota still produces 45.5 foals per million dollars of earnings, while the nationwide average was only 18.6! Furthermore, Minnesota is easily the most prolific breeding state in the Upper Midwest when indexed. Our closest racing Midwest breeding competitor is Iowa, which produced 29.7 foals per million in 2015.
Of course, declines are still declines and disappointing. However, Minnesota breeders are simply under appreciated in general. They often take losses on their foal crops to support racing in Minnesota, in spite of clearly uncompetitive state bred earnings and yearling sale prices.
I hope this one example intellectually dispels this foolish myth. You might be shocked about what truth the data clarifies about Minnesota breeding, purses, prices and trends. It is a pity that the people that should understand this information do not seem to. They simply do not know what they do not know. What a pity.
"You will learn more truth about Minnesota Thoroughbreds by mistake here than you will ever learn elsewhere on purpose!"
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.