Today something historic took place in the Minnesota Thoroughbred Breeding community. The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association has become the first organization in the state to officially recognize the importance of “actually” breeding thoroughbred racehorses in Minnesota!
Yes I know this will sound nonsensical to many of the followers of this blog and social media page that do not live in Minnesota but historically, our state breeder's fund has defined any horse “Foaled” in Minnesota as “Bred”. Consequently, mare owners could breed anywhere in the country, come visit Minnesota with their mare for a couple weeks to “foal out”, and then leave the state while maintaining the definition of “Minnesota Bred”. In other words, our “breeder’s fund” has really been a “birthing fund” which allowed mare owners full access to our Minnesota breeder's fund by barely participating in the Minnesota agricultural thoroughbred economy.
While the “Minnesota Bred” definition has not changed, the MTA announced today that the 2016 MTA yearling sale will offer selling consignors a new bonus. The breeder of each MN-bred yearling, consigned to the MTA Yearling Sale that sells to a new owner during the auction, will receive a Yearling Sale Graduate Breeder's Bonus when the MTA Sales Grad breaks its maiden in a Maiden Special Weight or Allowance race. The bonus will be paid to the breeder within 30 days of the horse breaking its maiden at Canterbury Park, and Minnesota “CONCEIVED AND FOALED” MTA Sale Grads will receive a $2,000 bonus. Minnesota-bred MTA Sale Grads will receive a $1,000 bonus. These are meaningful bonus amounts!
Additionally, the MTA Sales Graduate Stakes race will offer eligible 2016 two year olds the opportunity to run in a new, 5 furlong, $40,000 stakes race in July. Yearlings consigned to the 2015 sale are eligible for this race. Consignors who sold a yearling can, in turn, nominate an additional MN-bred to the MTA Sales Graduate Stakes.
The MTA also announced that the venue for the August 22, 2016 yearling auction will be Canterbury Park and their new state of the art Expo Center.
All of these changes come at a good time. Even though racing in Minnesota is going great with Minnesota seeing the highest percentage increase in racing purse levels of any state in the union since 2011, and the 2015 race season was outstanding with Canterbury Park realizing a pari-mutuel handle rise of 11.3% and a record purse distribution, yearling prices, breeding volumes and breeding quality have lagged behind expectations with the state’s standing stallion population dropping to the lowest point in history.
As a long time Minnesota breeder it’s very nice to see all of these changes, and the MTA recognizing the long term importance that a true breeding distinction can have the Minnesota Thoroughbred Breeding economy. It’s a great time to breed in Minnesota so be sure to contact your favorite Minnesota stallion farm today. The breeding season is upon us.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.