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WUKY In Depth
Fri October 4, 2013
Horse Capital Of The World Part II
In our continuing series ‘Horse Capital of the World’, we explore the ‘green’ that horses bring to the bluegrass.
The sales pavilion was full and business was booming at the 2013 September sales, 4,ooo yearlings were sold. 18 of them with a price tag of more than one million dollars. It was one sign the economy is improving. Geoffrey Russell is the Director of Sales at Keeneland. He says the numbers are back to 2008 levels and money coming to central Kentucky during the sales doesn’t just equate to bigger bank accounts for clients selling yearlings, there is a sort of ‘economic boost’ ripple effect.
“We are very blessed here at Keeneland that we welcome back every year to our sales in September and November and January. Pretty much everybody from the 50 states and then anywhere up to 48 to 50 individual countries come here to come to our sales.”
While the Keeneland sales bring in millions the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey shows that is just a drop in the bucket. Jill Stow is the Ag Equine Programs Director at the University of Kentucky.
“The economic impact to the equine industry to the state is about three billion dollars. And that places it as one of the highest ranking AG sectors in the industry. Now each industry hasn’t done their own individual report but of those that have, the equine industry is certainly one of the most prominent and it’s the signature of the state and this helps underscore the economic significance of that.
While the breeding and the racing industry had a combined output impact nearing two billion dollars, Stowe says it’s not just high stakes race-horses that rake in the cash.
“Almost 80-thousand of the horses in the state, their primary use is trail riding.”
And then there are equine related assets…money for trainers, transportation, feed, veterinarians, farriers…the list goes on. And it’s not just horse owners here in Kentucky that utilize equine related services. Russell says there’s a reason for that.
“We have the best veterinarian services in the world. We have the best farriers. The Jockey Club is based here so we have all the data that’s necessary here. We have the top experts in any field in the horse business and they’re all in Central Kentucky.”
Last year, Kentucky’s equine industry was also responsible for more that 40—thousand jobs and 134-million in tax contributions. Russell and Stowe agree…it’s just one of the reasons we are the horse capital of the world. Join us next month as our equine series explores high-tech, state of the art hospitals for our very large four legged friends.