10/21/2016 9:42AM

Jockey Club: 2.5 percent fewer mares bred in 2016


Breeding activity in North America this past breeding season was down 2.5 percent from the 2015 season at this same reporting time, The Jockey Club said in its annual Report of Mares Bred, released Friday. In 2016, a total of 33,746 mares were bred to 1,423 stallions, compared with 34,627 mares bred to 1,449 stallions last year. The number of active stallions was down 1.8 percent from 2015 and down 8 percent from 2014.

The Jockey Club notes that all breeding activity for the 2016 breeding season has not been reported, and as many as 2,000 to 3,000 more mares will be reported to have been bred when the final tally is in. The Jockey Club has projected the 2017 North American foal crop will be 22,500, the same as in 2016.

For the second year in a row, Uncle Mo covered more mares than any other stallion in North America, with 253. Uncle Mo, the 2015 record-breaking leading freshman sire and second on this year’s general sire list, topped the 2015 report of mares bred with 221. Uncle Mo stood for a fee of $75,000 this past season at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.

First-year stallion American Pharoah, who also stands at Ashford, was third among sires by mares bred with 208. The 2015 Triple Crown winner stood for a fee of $200,000, though many breeders were able to get a 2-for-1 deal. In any case, getting that many mares to a first-year stallion is critical to a successful start at stud, so he passed his first test with flying colors.

Other first-year stallions near the top of the list by mares bred were Wicked Strong, who stands for $10,000 at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., and tied for fifth with 190; Tapiture, who stands for $7,500 at Darby Dan in Lexington and was 10th with 176; Constitution, who stands for $25,000 at WinStar Farm in Versailles and tied for 12th with 172; and Carpe Diem, who stands for $25,000 at WinStar and was 15th with 162.

Second on the list is Into Mischief, with 218. Into Mischief, who stands for $45,000 at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, was third on the 2015 list. Fourth on this year’s list was leading sire Kitten’s Joy, who stands for $100,000 at Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., with 201 mares bred. Verrazano, who stands at Ashford, was tied for fifth with Wicked Strong with 190 mares.

Kentucky stallions occupied the top 45 places by number of mares bred, and 93 of the 100 stallions who covered 100 or more mares in 2016 stood in Kentucky. In 2015, 105 stallions had a 100-plus book of mares.

The 100 stallions who covered 100 or more mares in 2016 accounted for 40.6 percent of all mares bred, down slightly from 42 percent last year. Kentucky maintained its dominance as a breeding center in 2016, with the state’s stallions covering more than half of all mares bred in North America. The 227 Kentucky stallions covered 17,750 mares, which was 52.6 percent of all mares bred. Kentucky stallions covered more mares in 2016 than in 2015, having covered 17,448, or 50 percent of the total, last year.

The average book for a Kentucky stallion was 78 mares. That means that the 1,196 stallions standing outside of Kentucky in 2016 had an average book of just 13.4 mares.

The leading active stallion outside of Kentucky was California-based Champ Pegasus, who stands for $5,000 at Legacy Ranch in Clements, with 133 mares bred.

Florida-based sires Kantharos (who has since been moved from Ocala Stud to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Kentucky for the 2017 breeding season), Khozan (Journeyman Stud), Uncaptured (Ocala Stud), He’s Had Enough (Woodford Thoroughbreds), and The Big Beast (Ocala Stud) each covered more than 100 mares.

The only other non-Kentucky-based stallion with 100 or more mares bred in 2016 was Maryland-based Golden Lad, with 104. Golden Lad stands at Northview Stallion Station.

Following Kentucky on the list of the most mares bred by a state or province’s stallions were Florida (2,757), California (2,543), New York (1,510), Louisiana (1,332), Maryland (913), Ontario (761), Oklahoma (702), New Mexico (692), and Pennsylvania (489).

Among the top 10 states or provinces, only Kentucky and Maryland (up 15.9 percent) showed increases in the number of mares bred compared with 2015.

For a sortable Excel file to see the full Report of Mares Bred, click here.

:: DRF BREEDING LIVE: Real-time coverage of breeding and sales