08/21/2010 2:48PM

Foal crop expected to decline for sixth straight year in 2011


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Jockey Club announced Saturday that it expects the registered North American Thoroughbred foal crop to fall again in 2011, to the smallest size since 1973.

The registry projects the 2011 registered foal crop to be 27,000, down 10 percent from the projected 2010 crop of 30,000. That will mark the sixth consecutive year of decline since the numbers reached a 12-year high of 38,358 in 2005. In 1973, the registered foal crop numbered 26,811.

The Jockey Club bases its projections on the Reports of Mares Bred that it receives from the 2010 breeding season, and the organization asks that stallion owners who haven’t yet returned their RMBs do so as soon as possible.

The continuing decline in registered foal numbers will come as little surprise to breeders, who have curtailed breeding activity sharply since 2008. The financial crisis that hit that fall, the resulting tightening of credit, and the collapse in bloodstock prices have prompted many breeders to limit production. Between 2005 and 2007, the registered foal crop declined annually by between 0.7 percent and 1.8 percent. But the declines in projected crop size have been steeper since 2008.

The projected declines are 2.1 percent for the 2008 crop, 7.1 percent for the 2009 crop, and 11.8 percent for the 2010 crop.