Higher purses could result in a New York breeding boom
Fasig Tipton kicked off its two-night New York Bred Sale with strong gains Saturday night. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, the rise in prices is only one indicator New York's thoroughbred breeding industry is booming.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- On a quiet summer afternoon on the McMahon Thoroughbreds of Saratoga farm, young foals born this spring made sure not to venture too far away from their mothers.
It was a tranquil setting that's anything but indicative of the current mood of New York's thoroughbred industry.
The high prices and frenetic pace of Saturday night's New York Bred auction in Saratoga may paint a clearer picture.
Hoards of revenue from a new casino at Aqueduct Racetrack has elevated purses at New York tracks and filled the coffers of the state's breeding and development fund, which provides five figure rewards to breeders whose horses win races in the state.
"Everyone is excited to have a New York-bred, to buy a New York-bred, to race a New York-bred," said Tracy Egan, executive director of the New York State Breeding and Development Fund.
According to New York State Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. executive director, Jeff Cannizzo, more than 500 broodmares were registered in the state in the past year, an unprecedented total.
Breeder Joe McMahon is reaping the benefits first-hand. On top of the added interest in breeding to his own stallions, three accomplished sires, including 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and 1996 Breeders Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, have been relocated to his farm from the well known Adena Springs in Kentucky.
"We started going the other way again last year, this year we made significant gains over last year, so it is going in the right direction," said McMahon, who’s best known for breeding 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.
The McMahons aren't the only ones hosting prominent stallions from out of state at their farm. For the first time ever this year, Sheikh of Dubai, perhaps the world's most prominent breeder, has relocated one of his horses, Grade 1 winner Girolamo, to a farm near Hudson.
"They're showing confidence in the fact we're having more and more mares coming from out of the state that are of high quality that needed a quality stallion to go to," Egan said.
This weekend's auction is the first true test of whether the added interest in breeding will provide a hefty return on the investment. The ultimate answer will likely come on the racetrack.
"There's a lot of money that people can earn,” McMahon said. The more money that's available, the more competition there is, it's going to raise the bar, no doubt about it.”