What are breeders to do with those young racing prospects that don’t meet the stringent standards of the buying public in a market that is overfull?
As many breeders are deciding with even some very nice stock that have realized significant bids, the only option is to put them into training. For some that is a viable and potentially very profitable option.
Quality Road, bought back for $110,000 at the Keeneland September sale in 2007, has to be the poster pony for this approach. Owner-breeder Ned Evans was properly situated to take the big colt home, give him time and proper training, and he has reaped the benefits of more than $2.2 million in racetrack earnings and another seven-figure dividend in potential stallion valuation.
In a similar situation, quite a number of breeders would have been forced by economic pressure to take the money and “stop the bleeding” by accepting a net loss. And that is the case many breeders are presented with as their stock works its way through the labyrinthine path among the barns at Keeneland.
This is not a good situation for horse racing or horse breeding, but it is the way things are working themselves out as part of the national and international economy.
Even allowing for the volume of very good to decent sales today, the stats surely indicate that all is not well with a sizable portion of the business. The only result is that breeders will be under greater pressure to sell — for any price — at the November sales.
Can anyone envision an improving market there?
And then the depressing values and increasing losses will come back to haunt the stallion operations.
Somewhere along the trail, the Commonwealth of Kentucky might catch on and realize that it is watching the best source of revenue (taxes on top of taxes), tourism, agribusiness, and ecologically responsible business go away.
Because breeders will be taking more mares out of Kentucky to states that offer them incentives for breeding good horses, whether they sell for big money on one day in their lives or not.