Not long ago I was asked to help develop insight related to Thoroughbred breeding programs. We needed to answer 5 simple questions related to the Thoroughbred crop.
1) How is the quality of the product, state bred Thoroughbreds, actually valued in the open marketplace?
2) Was an adequate supply of state bred Thoroughbreds being produced?
3) Are things headed in the right direction?
4) Are the economic benefits of breeding and foaling properly impacting our farms and breeders?
5) Is the breeding system producing the results desired, with the expected balance between quantity and quality?
While there was no solitary source of information to answer these questions, we eventually consolidated data from multiple sources, normalized it to rationalize information, evaluated trends, and compared results so we could really know if they were good, bad or indifferent. A dashboard of "key indicators" was produced.
Dashboards, common in highly successful organizations, are never perfect predictors. They are much like the dashboard in your car. They cannot predict a crash or a safe trip, but if your car dashboard tells you that you are driving 100 miles an hour with low tire pressure and the engine/oil light on, you better bet you have a problem.
The organizations I worked with were not in Minnesota, but I thought a few of the our Minnesota breeding and racing friends might be interested in the Minnesota dashboard. (Depending on your device, you may have to click on the dashboard and zoom in.)
I received messages on the subject of the Minnesota yearling sale, and a related question on how horse owners are doing this year.
I always look at both activity and Earnings Per Start (EPS) to evaluate stables, trainers and even jockeys.
The chart ranks the most active 60 Minnesota owner entities by EPS, which is the best proxy I have found for economic effectiveness. There are 558 owner entities listed as starting a horse in Minnesota so far this year, so this group of 60 represents the top 10% or so of most active owners. 18% of these owners are above $4,000 per start.
The best guiding information I can find for owners interested in participating in the August 21st yearling sale at Canterbury Park, is frankly on the "New Owner Education" page on this website. Here is the direct link to that page.
New Owner Education
Best of luck to those who plan on participating in the sale.
I had a few messaged questions regarding my quotes in this morning’s Star Tribune breeding article. It’s nice to see some folks interested in real dialogue associated with the differences between hope and emotional exuberance, versus intellectual economics. Many thanks to Rachel Blount for presenting an honest and balanced view of the highs and lows.
One of the questions I was asked related to auction sale prices in Minnesota. Since every sale seems to be described as “a good sale” with folks patting themselves on the back, here are the facts straight from the Jockey Club.
Since the Mystic Lake arrangement was announced in 2012 over the last 4 years from 2012 through 2016, the average public sale prices for Minnesota Bred yearlings was $9,454. A full decade ago, from 2002 through 2006, the average Minnesota Bred yearling sale price was $9,524. Yes, that’s right. Minnesota breeders a decade ago realized higher prices for their Minnesota bred yearlings, even though Minnesota available gross purses rose 39% during those same time periods! With inflation factored in, Minnesota Bred yearling sale prices today are almost $3,000 per yearling lower than they were a decade ago.
Following is a direct link to the Star Tribune article, though for some I think I should also include a link to, “Hope is NOT a Strategy”: www.startribune.com/horse-breeding-in-minnesota-is-a-high-risk-high-reward-business/440096703/#1
After 13 races, in which she collected a check for coming in 2nd through 4th 11 times, always close Victory Ice got her first win last night.
Of course partners Tom and Felicia Lindquist and family were there to join in, and we were lucky enough to convince Victory's breeders Joyce and Rick Osborne to break away from home for a night and celebrate with us. Even long time season table neighbors Brian and Keith Nordling were there for the fun.
As always, owners do nothing, so all credit goes to trainer Gary Scherer and a great ride by Nick Goodwin for saving ground and coming through near the rail, for the win.
Though the breeding economics and poor future projections have taken the fun out of that part of the game, at least in Minnesota, there's are still very few thrills like jumping in the winners circle with family and friends.
Even as we reduce our Minnesota footprint, the horses we have left never give up on trying to win.
Don't miss this "one of a kind pedigree" yearling, at the MTA Yearling sales being held August 21, 2017 at Canterbury Park. This very handsome and well conformed FULL BROTHER of BJ's Angel (MTA Stallion Auction Stakes Winning and Minnesota Oaks Stakes Placed six figure earnings winner) is HIP 33! Good luck to all at the sale.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.