After a few folks took the time to read recent articles on this website related to Minnesota’s relatively uncompetitive commitment to Thoroughbred breeding, on the breeding page of this website, I was asked why other states like Indiana are so successful. You see based on public Jockey Club data, Indiana breeds over 4 times the number of mares we do in Minnesota, stands over 4 times the number of stallions we stand in Minnesota, and has near 4 times the number of state bred racing starters. The answer is in the money, and as clear as a bell!
Indiana’s purses paid to their state breds are near 3 times higher than Minnesota pays to their state breds, even though the total Indiana purses are not even double the Minnesota purses paid. In other words, Indiana’s commitment to their breeding farms, breeding stables, breeders, (and every organization that benefits from breeding in Indiana including veterinary clinics, farriers, feed stores, etc.) is demonstrable. They pay 55% of their total available purses to state bred horses, unlike Minnesota’s 31%, and Indiana is rewarded for this commitment with 3.86 times more state bred racing starters than Minnesota!
So you say this only explains part of the story because Indiana pays only 3 times the level of purses to state breds than Minnesota, but has over 4 times the number of starters? As Paul Harvey use to say, “here’s the rest of the story”. Indiana has a massively superior "and modern" breeding fund, as illustrated in the bottom half of the attached chart.
So now you know it’s all in the money, and many states including Indiana have adopted effective economic breeding models.
So the next time someone decides to denigrate Minnesota Thoroughbred breeders and our horses, just pity their ignorance and know that while the money is there, a “competitive” Minnesota commitment to the Minnesota breeding industry isn’t. It's up to Minnesota horse organizations to recognize this, address it, or continue to ignore it.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.