Well the new 2017 Jockey Club State Fact Books came out so I reviewed the 2016 numbers. As predicted, the Minnesota average and total purses dropped in 2016. Minnesota average purses per race dropped from $26,758 to $25,018, a substantial one year decline of 6.5%! Gross purses dropped from $14,689,965 to $13,635,940, a 7.2% decline! (Have your horse organizations told you that, or explained why to you?)
General indicators were also off. A few weeks back it was publicly announced that the pari-mutuel handle was down 8.5% in 2016, a huge drop in one year. The new Jockey Club 2016 data also indicates that the average field size dropped for the third straight year in a row to 7.7 horses. The total number of starters in Minnesota dropped 6.2%, while the much smaller population of Minnesota state bred starters actually increased 8.6%. (States that seriously committed to their state breeding economy like Indiana have over half of their racing starters as state breds, where Minnesota has less than one third of their racing starters coming from the state bred population.)
Things are headed in the direction predicted, because Minnesota horse people have yet to demand that organizations “competitively” represent a commitment to the Minnesota state breeding economy. (State bred purse distributions and the Minnesota Breeders Fund.)
As an aside, anyone want to ask where the ballyhooed open horse stables that came to race in 2013 went, or how that lowest takeout thing really worked?
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.