Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The Jockey Club's report of live foals for 2017 is disappointing once again with only Kentucky, California and Maryland reporting more live foals than last year, although only 90 percent of the reports have been received so there could be some minor changes ahead.
The disappointment resonates because this year's foal crop will not race until 2019, which bodes negatively for the future size of fields at every track, a problem that has plagued the sport for the last several years. Fields of five, six and seven have been so prevalent that they seriously impact the handles across the country. Few tracks have not been impacted in some way or another.
The latest numbers show that Maryland has the highest rise - from 411 live foals last year to 500 so far this year, a raise of 21.7 percent. But the numbers are so small that the 21.7 percent isn't nearly as important as a 21.7 percent rise would be in Kentucky, California, Florida or New York.
A major factor, of course, is the gap between the number of mares bred compared to the number of live foals. Kentucky, for instance, reported 17,912 mares bred in 2016 but only 12,184 live foals. That's 5,728 mares who will not have a runner two years from now.
There were 2,841 mares bred in Florida last year which resulted in 1,577 foals; there are 1,514 foals reported so far this year so it's possible the current number will reach 2016. But it's way down from the bread and butter years, and much of it is because there are so few stallions at the top end still in Florida. As mentioned here often, when they make a big splash early in Florida, they end up in Kentucky soon after. Ocala Stud's Kantharos is the latest example, but the previous list is quite formidable.
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