FHBPA President Bill White Notes “Live Racing Days are the Business Driver”
What “Made in Florida” product generates $23.5 million in four days from just 591 “units of sale?”
Florida Thoroughbred racehorses. Surprised? If you’re a horseman, probably not. But to others, it’s an eye-opener to what horse racing really means to Florida’s economy.
“The positive economic impact is far greater when you consider that it takes nearly three years to breed, raise and train a Thoroughbred racehorse just to get it ready to put up for sale,” explained Bill White, President of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, an organization that represents over 6,000 Thoroughbred owners and trainers who do business in Florida. “Florida’s horse shipping business–yet another multi-million dollar economic generator created by horse racing–then transports that young horse to other parts of the state, nation or the world. Wherever that horse goes, it sparks the employment of a team of people who are needed to support its career at the racetrack.”
This month, a veritable “who’s who” of would-be Thoroughbred horse buyers joined White in Ocala for the internationally known Ocala Breeders Sales(OBS), which serves as the Florida Thoroughbred breeding industry’s “storefront” to the world.
“Now we must give these buyers a reason to keep investing in Florida by ensuring we give them a motive to purchase horses: Live Racing Days,” White said. “But Florida’s recent push to eliminate that business driver by ‘decoupling’ is more than troubling, because it’s pretty likely that decoupling advocates are unaware of horse racing’s full economic circle. Take that seemingly simple ‘brick’ of live racing days out of the ‘wall’ and a multi-billion dollar industry can be extinguished in very short order.”
White was on hand for OBS’ June 16 opening day to congratulate Ocala Breeders Sales’ President Tom Ventura, as well as Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association CEO Lonny Powell on what turned out to be another record-breaking event.
For the entire June 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sale, 591 Thoroughbreds sold for a record $23,475,500–breaking the mark of $22,539,500 set in 2014. The average per-horse sale price was a June record $39,722, compared with $31,657 in 2014, eclipsing the previous mark of $33,250 set in 2013. Twenty individual horses brought purchase prices of $200,000 each or more each against just ten horses garnering a similar tags just one year ago.
Twelve horses designated as “of racing age” grossed $564,000, compared with 26 bringing $262,000 a year ago. The average per-horse sale in that category was $47,000, compared with $10,077 in 2014. The median price was $16,000–up from $6,500 a year ago.
Streamed via global Webcast through the portals of two international Thoroughbred racing publications, the June OBS sale featured nearly 1,200 Thoroughbreds for sale. The prestigious event has grown in size and importance in recent years–a reflection of the success of its “graduates.”
The Jockey Club, which keeps national Thoroughbred industry records, reported last year that Florida posted an increase in the number of mares bred as compared with 2013. There were 2,910 mares bred in Florida in 2014, compared with 2,853 in 2013. The typical gestation period for a horse is just over 11 months.
To view the 2015 Jockey Club Florida Statistical Book, click HERE.
Next on the OBS 2015 agenda is the Selected Sale of Yearlings set for August 25, followed by the Open Sale of Yearlings on August 26 to 27.