National conferences on the horse racing industry have been discussing the decline in the Thoroughbred foal crop. A recent article in The Blood Horse states that the shrinking foal crop is a challenge for racing and going forward will be “particularly troublesome.” The International Simulcast Conference in Delray Beach, FL listed three significant issues facing the industry: short fields, a failure to attract new players, and aging facilities. Oregon is experiencing the same problems.
The Jockey Club has projected the North American foal crop for 2013 will be 23,000. This is down 38% from 2003. While Oregon contributes a very small number to this total, the number of Oregon bred foals has alarmingly declined. The number of foals born in 2013 was 63. This represents a 75% drop from 2003.
The number of foals has a direct impact on the success of a race track. Shorter field sizes discourage wagering. Races are viewed as unplayable when the odds of a decent payout are not favorable due to small fields. Currently there are 516 Thoroughbreds at Portland Meadows. Oregon breds make up 22% of these with 113 on property. Every one of these is needed to fill races.
Oregon breds are the backbone of racing in the state. Oregon breeders reside in 85% of the counties and support their local economies. The Oregon breeder contributes a great deal to the success of racing in Oregon. The economy, the instability of the industry, and a lack of confidence have all contributed to the decline in the number of foals. It’s time to turn that around and encourage breeding.
The Board of Directors of the OTOBA would like to offer three breeding incentive programs. These programs will encourage breeding, keep breeding going and will attract new breeders. We are currently exploring funding options for these programs. The OTOBA is a small non-profit and our resources are limited.
More horses help the entire industry. It is time to save the Oregon bred Thoroughbred!
Calypsonoted - OTOBA 2012 HOY
Maddie's Gold - OTOBA 2013 HOY
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Oregon Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, Inc. P.O. Box 17248 ~ Portland, OR 97217-0248 Office: 503.285.0658 ~ Fax: 503.286.6325