10/21/2010 1:20PM

Number of stallions, broodmares continues to shrink


LEXINGTON, Ky. – North American Thoroughbred breeding activity continued to decline in 2010, with 9 percent fewer active stallions and almost 11 percent fewer broodmares, according to statistics released Thursday by the Jockey Club.

The North American stallion population fell from 2,409 reported at this time last year to 2,186. During the same time period, the broodmare population dropped from 45,317 to 40,576.

Kentucky continued to lead North American in breeding activity with 266 stallions covering 17,303 mares, but stallion and mare population were down by 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

The rest of the top 10 states or provinces by number of mares bred are Louisiana with 3,093 mares bred, up 2 percent; Florida with 3,076, down 24 percent; California with 2,523, down 14 percent; Pennsylvania with 1,542, down 4 percent; Ontario, 1,385, up 10 percent; New York with 1,291, down 17 percent; Oklahoma with 1,207, down 1 percent; New Mexico with 1,181, down 3 percent; and Texas with 1,046, down 26 percent.

The statistics are based on 2010 Reports of Mares Bred that the Jockey Club received through Oct. 13. The reports include the number of mares bred to each stallion; double-counting of mares is possible when a mare has been covered by two different stallions. The figures represent an estimated 90 percent of the mare population the Jockey Club expects will be reported bred this year.

Notably, Ontario was the only area to see increases in both its active stallions and mares bred, with 8 percent more stallions and a 10-percent rise in mares bred. New York, Florida, and Texas sustained the biggest declines in breeding activity. In addition to their declines in mare population, those states’ stallion numbers also fell by 24 percent, 21 percent, and 18 percent, respectively.

Other top-10 states by breeding activity that showed some gains included Oklahoma, where there were 14 percent more stallions but a 1 percent decline in mares, and Louisiana, which saw number of mares bred rise by 2 percent to 3,093, though active stallions decreased by 5 percent.

The largest drop in breeding activity was for stallions covering books of 25 or fewer mares; that segment of the stallion population has seen a 35-percent decline in mares bred in 2010.   Also suffering a  35-percent slowdown were sires with books numbering between 50 and 74.  Stallion books of 100 or more mares lost the fewest mares this year with just a 6-percent decline in mares bred.   The slides were expected, due partly to such factors as declining bloodstock values, a tighter credit market, and recent downturns in Thoroughbred racing’s economic indicators.   “The decline in breeding activity in 2010 falls in line with our forecasted 10-percent decline for next year’s registered foal crop, from 30,000 foals in 2010 to 27,000 foals in 2011,” the Jockey Club’s executive director, Matt Iuliano, said in a statement accompanying the statistics