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Data published in the Wall Street Journal from the database of the Yale Center for Finance showed that the most recent decade (2000-2009) had the lowest return (-0.5 percent) for investments in the stock market since 1900.

That’s the lowest return for any decade in that period, including the Great Depression of the 1930s, which had the second-lowest return (-0.2 percent). Chronologically, the decades’ returns were: 1900s (10.9), 1910s (2.2), 1920s (13.3), 1930s (-0.2), 1940s (9.6), 1950s (18.2), 1960s (8.3), 1970s (6.6), 1980s (16.6), 1990s (17.6), and 2000s (-0.5).

So, while I would not make light of the genuine difficulties that horse racing and breeding has encountered, the general economy has had a very significant effect on the performance of racing and on the economics of breeding and sales. And the data from this report made me take a more acute look at the circumstances that the sport is working to surmount.

In essence, we have had the reverse of the rising tide that floats all boats; instead, we have been experiencing the falling tide that sinks the unlucky and swamps even the prudent and conservative.

This decade of economic catastrophe, as a result, has exaggerated the weaknesses in the sport and compounded the faults in our business model.

Judging from this economic data, I believe we will look back in coming years with awe that breeders, farms, owners, and racing stables managed to survive these difficult times. And, with luck, will find that the worst is already behind us.

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