10/21/2009 11:00PM

Report shows decline in '09 breeding numbers

Adam Cognialese
Cosmonaut, winning the Fort Marcy, will stand stud at Highcliff Farm.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Jockey Club's annual Reports of Mares Bred statistics, released Thursday for the 2009 breeding season, shows North America's Thoroughbred breeding activity has continued to decline, as expected.

Nationwide, the number of active stallions dropped 9 percent, and the number of mares bred declined 14 percent. But there was one area where breeding activity increased: Pennsylvania, where slots have boosted revenue and confidence in the state breeding program recently. The active stallion population in Pennsylvania rose from 89 last year to 97, and the number of mares they covered climbed from 1,237 to 1,603. Those are gains of 9 and 30 percent.

Florida remained North America's second-largest breeding state by mare population, behind Kentucky. But its breeding numbers showed the most dramatic drop, with active stallions falling by 23 percent, from 202 to 155, and active broodmares falling 24 percent, from 5,316 last season to 4,041.

California and New York also saw slowdowns. The New York stallion roster dropped 18 percent, and number of mares dropped 15 percent. California's active stallion and mare populations fell by 14 and 23 percent, allowing Louisiana, which also saw declines, to surpass it as the nation's third-largest breeding state by active mare population. Louisiana has 3,048, and California has 2,946.

Kentucky still leads in breeding activity, but it, too, had significant declines. Kentucky's active stallions fell from 318 to 307, down 4 percent, and mares bred declined from 21,317 to 19,059, an 11 percent decrease.

The number of stallions covering 100 mares or more also fell, from 113 to 85.

The bottom line: Smaller foal crops are on the way.

"Our mid-August projection of 30,000 registered foals in North America for 2010 was based on initial RMB [Reports of Mares Bred] returns, and these latest statistics reinforce that estimate," said the Jockey Club's vice-president of registration services, Matt Iuliano.

The top five stallions by book size were Giant's Causeway and Medaglia d'Oro, each with 194; Candy Ride, 182; Lion Heart, 180; and Corinthian, 171.

The Jockey Club figures represent an estimated 92 percent of the mares that eventually will be reported bred in 2009, the Thoroughbred breed registry noted.

Arqana sale bucks trend

The French auction house Arqana ended its October yearling sale in Deauville Wednesday with gains in average and gross, going against a general trend of decreases in worldwide Thoroughbred yearling sales.

The Arqana auction sold 343 yearlings for about $13,102,315, resulting in an average price of approximately $38,199 and a median of about $26,820. Compared in the auction currency of euros, the average was up 10 percent, and gross was up 5 percent. Median showed stability, holding level with last year's figure of 18,000 euros, or about $26,820. Including private sales on the grounds, the auction's gross totaled about $13,611,895 for an average of approximately $36,395.

The buyback rate was 29 percent, also level with last year's figure.

The sale-topper was a Sharmardal colt out of Banakill, by Funambule, that the BBA (Ireland) purchased for 170,000 euros, about $253,300. The bay colt is a half-brother to American Grade 2 winner Obrigado and to Group 3 winner Coupe de Champe.

Cosmonaut to Highcliff Farm

Millionaire and multiple graded winner Cosmonaut will begin his stud career in 2010 at Highcliff Farm in Delanson, N.Y.

A 7-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse, Cosmonaut will stand for $5,000.

Campaigned by Flying Zee Stable, Cosmonaut won five stakes, including four Grade 3 events, at Arlington Park, Golden Gate Fields, Belmont Park, and Tampa Bay Downs. He retired after a fourth-place finish in Saratoga's Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap with more than $1.3 million in earnings and victories in eight of 36 starts.

Cosmonaut is out of Grade 2-placed Cosmic Fire, by Capote. He's a half-brother to stakes-placed Kickin' the Clouds

Thewayyouare to stand at Ashford

Also new to the stallion ranks in 2010 is French Group 1 winner Thewayyouare, who retires to Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. The United States division of Coolmore Stud will announce Thewayyouare's fee at a later date.

A 4-year-old Kingmambo colt, Thewayyouare raced for Coolmore associates Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor in partnership with Sean Mulryan. He captured France's Group 1 Criterium International in 2007, the year he also took the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon and the Criterium de Lyon-Prix Gan Eurocourtage. Thewayyouare won 4 of his 9 starts for earnings of $340,968.

Thewayyouare is a son of Group 1-placed Maryinsky, who also produced Europe's champion 3-year-old filly of 2007, Peeping Fawn.

* Millennium Farms in Kentucky will relocate two of its stallions to Moon Lake Farm in Louisiana, Millennium announced Thursday. Grade 2 winner and Preakness third Scrimshaw, by Gulch, and Grade 2 winner Woke Up Dreamin, by Holy Bull, will stand at Moon Lake for $2,500 stand and nurse. Moon Lake owner John Turner has purchased interests in both stallions.

Scrimshaw, sire of grade 3 winner Mr. Rod, is Louisiana's leading second-crop sire. Woke Up Dreamin is a first-crop sire this year.