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In a reply to an essay from the noted turf commentator Salvator that was quoted in Tuesday’s post on artificial insemination, Blood-Horse editor Joe Estes retorted: “How the hereditary content of a sperm cell could be so specifically changed by a brief stay in a capsule or a syringe is more than Salvator would care to explain, or I to believe.”

In short, the Estes labelled fear of artificial insemination as a crock.

As for Salvator’s reliance on the testimony of old-time horsemen who feared the debilitating effect of AI, Estes wrote: “I’ve heard old-time horsemen say you could control the sex of your foals by cutting a trench and putting your mare’s off fore and hind feet in it at breeding time if you wanted a colt, and putting the near feet in it if you wanted a filly. In fact, some old-time horsemen said about everything they could think of.”

Estes’s comment was not to negate the value of some things said by old-time horsemen, but the volume of commentary might have had a diluting effect.

Of more importance to modern breeders would be the safety, convenience, and access that would result from the use of AI, which is allowed by all breed registries except the Jockey Club.

From practically every standpoint of management, AI would be a benefit to breeders and owners.

The negative is two-fold: getting the resulting horses registered by every blinkered Thoroughbred registry in the world (although would any oppose the US Jockey Club and the British if they agreed?) and the effects of the change on the businesses (especially boarding farms) that rely on mares shipping in for breeding to Kentucky stallions.

As breeder and consignor Rick Abbott cogently commented yesterday, however, the wreck of the Kentucky boarding industry may have happened already. Out of state breeding programs are offering such attractive benefits for breeding and racing good horses elsewhere that hundreds of breeders and thousands of horses have already left Kentucky for other states.

Most of those left are diehards for Kentucky breeding. Most of the breeders who want to raise a good horse in Kentucky are going to keep their stock there, and those that want to raise horses elsewhere are already in programs with states that reward people for breeding Thoroughbreds there.

This latter point is completely ignored by one Kentucky politician of great power and insurmountable ego who either hates the horse business and wants to drive it to Louisiana (New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, etc) or is a paid lackey of out-of-state groups. And he has single-handedly (but with the cheerful assistance of many other Republicans and a few Democrats) helped to damage the horse business at a time when it needs aid, not enemies.

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