For friends and family who have wondered, with only 2 legacy MN bred race horses at Hawthorne to prep for the 2018 racing season, our racing year may be less eventful than in the past. With that said, we are planning to migrate Astar Thoroughbreds South and will be looking at around 20 farms and properties between Louisville and Lexington Kentucky in the near future.
We lived in Louisville many years ago. We loved our time there, not just because we were at the Derby every year, but also because we never had to shovel snow. Even though folks down there stocked up on bread and milk every time snow was in the forecast, it almost always melted in a day or two when it did occasionally fall. Subsequently, a winter home in Kentucky was always a consideration.
We also loved the tradition and beauty of the bluegrass horse country. This region truly represents the major leagues of the horse industry with smart, kind and highly professional people almost everywhere you turn. Now that we are only breeding stakes winning mares to top sires at historic Kentucky breeding farms, proximity not only makes emotional sense with family in Louisville, but logical sense.
We will be selling our home in Woodbury in the near future and will likely put our horse farm in Hastings on the market later this year. We will also look for a small summer home up here to be with our Northern kids and grandkids for that part of the year.
After drastically reducing our racing and breeding industry footprint in Minnesota, I was asked why. Simply put, the most recent year on public record indicates that Minnesota breeding and racing “owner” results were the worst in the last 4 years recorded years.
In the most recent recorded year, Minnesota experienced the lowest available purse total, the lowest average Minnesota bred horse earnings, the lowest available purse earnings per race, the lowest number of state standing stallions (breeding), the lowest number of mares bred (breeding), the lowest state foaled numbers AND the highest veterinary reported equine injury and fatality rate, in the last four recorded years. (Public sources available to anyone: 2018 Jockey Club State Fact Book and 2017 MN Veterinary Report.)
Will things be better in Minnesota considering recently announced purse and race changes? The answer is yes, but to those who allowed Minnesota to shrink to the extent that the only way to look is up, you have proven to many that other environments where owners are better represented and not taken advantage of are more much deserving of their time and investment.
Sorry to say that meaningful facts, not selected propaganda, will always eventually win out and affect behavior.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.