This year the yearling auctions readers of this blog seem to care about, are all together on the calendar.
Iowa is having their sale September 5th, Minnesota's is September 8th, Keeneland's sale begins September 9th and the Canadian Yearling sales for Divisions are August 26th and September 10th. Those buyers interested in gobbling up some state or Canadian Bred yearlings may have to make some choices about where they want to go.
With questions starting to ramp up, as they do every year, new owners often look for educational resources. Good ones are very hard to find. State Associations typically offer simplistic or propaganda laden materials in this regard. That's why I developed new owner educational information a few years ago and put it on our "Owner Education" page on this website. It has been called by many the best and most specific educational information available, and here's the direct link to the page: "Owner Education"
Best of luck to friends interested in the auctions this year, and I hope to see you at those I will be attending.
For a few years I have casually blogged about Minnesota racing and breeding. However, I began to comment on racing in general in 2019, coincident with my move to our new Kentucky farm as well as the particularly hard times American racing has experienced this year associated with public fatalities and safety issues.
My emphasis is always data and quality based, since that is my background, and I believe that data analysis will always lead to the truth while opinion is a low form of intelligence, always sprinkled with myths. Of course, my outspoken attitude with regard to data versus opinion tends to alienate the many people who have spent a lifetime treasuring foolish beliefs.
With that said and to my surprise, the Astar Thoroughbred website and blog unique visitors jumped up substantially in 2019 and I just found out that the Astar Thoroughbred blog is ranked 70th in the world according to https://blog.feedspot.com/horse_racing_blogs/
I guess there is a horse racing audience for an old retired casual blogger who tries to discover and share truths before spouting off. Who would've thunk it, eh? (Also feel free to browse my 2019 blogs and archives if you want to see what people were interested in.)
For a few months I have spot checked parimutuel handle trends and found that there was great 2019 variation by racetrack. Now that all the data is available, the overall 2019 decline looks pretty substantial with June reflecting a whooping 7.2% drop nationwide.
Some of the decline is explainable in that there was no Triple Crown chase this year, after Justify helped drive additional handle in 2018. In addition, the terrible media coverage of equine fatalities also seems to have driven handle lower.
What I particularly found interesting was the variation by racetrack illustrated in the included table. For example, Churchill saw an over 17% increase despite June being one of the worst weather months in Louisville Kentucky history. (We have now experienced over 40 straight days of rain!)
There is one universal truth. The quality of the racing product (field size, full race cards and the underlying quality of horses) drives revenue in racing, just like product quality drives revenue in any business. Churchill had full cards, an average field size of 8.6 and very high quality horses competing in June.
Negative trends in general, and the inability of certain tracks or jurisdictions to drive quality into their racing products, may suggest continuing consolidation, contraction and declines in the industry.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.