Last week, I wrote about the continuing decline of the “foal crop” – the number of new Thoroughbreds coming into the system each year. In a Thoroughbred Daily News article this week, some prominent breeders were asked to weigh in. A few highlights:
Ned Toffey, Spendthrift Farm: “It is certainly concerning and it’s certainly more than a minor blip. When it got to 20,000, that was essentially half of what it was when I first went to work on a Thoroughbred farm. … We are up against it.”
Craig Bandoroff, Denali Stud: “Racing is the engine that pulls the train. Everything is interconnected. More and more there will be fewer horses for racing and that means racetracks will have to run fewer days, have fewer races and have smaller fields.”
Then this: “What percentages of the horses win a race or even make it to the races? Those numbers aren’t good. That’s how I explain our business. We drill oil wells and we get a lot of dry wells and hope we get a couple of other ones that will pay for the failures.”
The racehorse as oil well – just another commodity, another asset to be expended. And what, pray tell, happens to all those “dry wells,” Mr. Bandoroff? He then ends with this warning to his colleagues: “Purses are going up but not because people are betting on horses. I hope we don’t lull ourselves into a false sense of security because we all know what the government giveth the government can take away.”
Exactly. Take away, government. Take away.