New York Leads the Rebound

Breeding statistics released recently by The Jockey Club show that the breeding farms in the Empire State are leading the way in reversing the decline of breeding activity in North America. Florida also showed increased numbers of breeding stock. Both states are bucking the overall trend of a decline in breeding activity.

North American breeding activity reported through Oct. 14 showed that 1,861 active stallions covered 35,391 mares. Those numbers represent a 3.8 percent decline in the number of active stallions and a 3 percent decline in numbers of mares bred compared with statistics reported at this time last year.

But breeding activity in New York and Florida, which are perennially in the top ten states or provinces in North America showed a healthy upswing in 2012.

New York, ranked fifth by number of mares bred, saw a 43.1 percent increase in the number of active broodmares this year after Aqueduct’s casino revenues, along with higher purses and breeder awards became reality starting last October. New York’s sire population grew by 18 percent, from 51 to 60.

That reversed last year’s downward trend, when New York’s stallion population fell 3.8 percent and mares fell 11.2 percent.

The breeding stock numbers also rebounded in second-ranked Florida, where stallion population grew 8.6 percent, from 116 to 126, and active mares grew 6.7 percent, from 2,876 to 3,070. Last year, Florida’s stallions were down 5.7 percent, and mares were down 6.5 percent.

Kentucky still leads North America in breeding activity, with 224 stallions and 15,361 mares bred, but those numbers were both down, by 1.8 percent and 2.2 percent.

The number of stallions covering 100 or more mares grew from last year’s 84 to 87, and “these stallions accounted for a greater percentage of the total mares reported bred this year − 31.9 percent of all mares bred in 2012 versus 30.6 percent of all mares bred in 2011 as reported at this time last year,” according to The Jockey Club.

The most active stallions, in terms of reported book size, were Ashford Stud (Coolmore) stallion Cape Blanco with 220 mares bred in North America, followed by Ashford’s Scat Daddy, 217; Ramsey Farm’s Kitten’s Joy, 213; Ashford’s Uncle Mo, 211; and Spendthrift Farm’s Wilburn, 169.

Stallions with 100-mare books saw their numbers of mares rise 1.1 percent, but the biggest increase in mares numbers − 14.4 percent − was for stallions covering between 75- and 99-mare books. Stallions with smaller books saw their numbers of mares fall further in 2012: There was a 4.1 percent decline in mares bred for stallions with 50- to 74-mare books, a 10.6 percent drop for stallions with book sizes between 25 and 49 and a 6.3 percent decrease for sires with book sizes under 25.

Additional information on the statistics is available at

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