Now that the Minnesota racing is done, I thought I’d catch up on a few questions I received near the end of the racing season.
Can I race my horses in other states? Yes, but you need to know if they can compete and at what level. Many MN breds make money here because they run in tightly conditioned races against only other MN breds. All other states have their own state bred races and therefore MN breds need to run in open company in those races. Rarely can MN breds compete in open company (against KY breds, Fl Breds, etc.) unless they run for claiming prices much lower than the same earning worth of those horses running in Minnesota.
What about licensing? All states require a state specific license, though there is a multi-jurisdictional license available. You should be licensed in those states well before you want to run your horses there. For example, my main trainer goes to Hawthorne so we license in Illinois well in advance so he can stable at Hawthorne and ship horses over to run at Arlington before Hawthorne racing begins.
Can I claim horses in other states? Yes. In fact Minnesota is a tough place to claim in my opinion. I have several rules of advice about claiming on this website. (i.e. Don’t claim from top tier trainers or excellent claiming trainers because they’ve already applied all the tricks of the trade to the horse, don’t claim pigeon holed horses that can only run on a certain surfaces or distances, use a “working claiming trainer” who is up at the track in the mornings to check out the potential claims well in advance of the race day claims, etc., etc.)
Will MN bred purses go up next year and should I still be looking to buy one? I don’t know if purses will go up. I can only speculate. MN bred purses actually went down slightly this year. The hope I see is that the currently uncompetitive level of our state bred purses, state bred earnings per starter are 6th out of 6 in the upper Midwest racing states, could rise if purse monies are directed from open to state bred purse structures. And yes, MN breds are still available for purchase privately and on a few online sites.
Why would MN state bred purses go up? Again, I am not involved in these discussions so I can only speculate. Since 2011 (Pre-Mystic Lake Deal) the “additional funds” directed to open horses running in Minnesota is near 5 times more than the “additional funds” added to MN state bred earnings. This is public knowledge based on the earnings and purses illustrated in public Jockey Club data. A shift may be possible. For every additional $1,000,000 directed toward state bred purses, I estimate an “additional” 50 state bred foals could be registered every year. That means, considering the normal average 4 year racing lifetime of a foal, and a 25% foal wash out rate, 150 more state bred starters could run annually for each additional $1,000,000 shifted to MN state bred purses because MN state breds are essentially a “captive” racing population. In other words, a shift would be very beneficial to all parties in Minnesota in my view.
How do I get started in breeding? This is a complicated question. I always suggest you first understand the long term commitments and costs associated with breeding. They are much more perverse than many newbies believe. For example, if you bought a broodmare for breeding today, you would contract a stud late this year, breed early in 2017, have the baby born in early 2018, and then either try to sell the yearling in the late summer or early fall of 2019, or if you kept the foal for racing, see its first race (if lucky) in June 2020 ..... after spending $40K to $50K or more! These timeframes shock many folks once they are confronted with them, and it’s why breeders deserve much more respect than they sometimes get. If you understand the dynamics and still want to proceed, let me know.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.