Sports betting just kicked off in Iowa today. Minnesotans are now traveling to Iowa to make sports wagers, and their money is contributing to the Iowa economy and horse racing industry! Good for Iowa but bad from Minnesota. There is little doubt that Iowa's racing product and purses will substantially benefit from the additional revenue.
Minnesota Thoroughbred breeding has suffered substantially over the last decade. According to the Jockey Club, Minnesota has seen a 78.1% decline in mares actually bred in the state. That means that for every 100 mares bred in Minnesota back in 2008, only 22 were bred there in 2018. That is a stunningly poor breeding result considering Minnesota had a 59.4% INCREASE in gross purses over the same decade! The 59.4% increase is one of the largest gross state racing purse increases in the country. Minnesota has also seen a 40.6% decline in Thoroughbreds foaled in Minnesota over the last decade of record.
By comparison over the last decade, mares bred nationwide only declined 42.7%, but there was also a 4.1% decline in gross purses nationwide.
Considering the declining fortunes in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry, every state must now compete with neighboring states for trainer stables and horses. Iowa's state bred purse structure, which is already near 20% higher than Minnesota's based upon same race condition comparisons, will quickly benefit from sports betting advantages generating an even greater competitive disparity between these two neighboring states.
(All data is public and is based upon Jockey Club published state fact books.)
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Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.