Thoroughbred foal crop projection holds steady for 2019

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Aug. 13, 2018

The projected Thoroughbred foal crop for 2019 is the same as the projection for last year, The Jockey Club reported Aug. 11.

The projection, based on reports of mares bred received through early August, is 21,500, the same as the projection made in 2017 for 2018. According to The Jockey Club Fact Book, which contains various breeding statistics, the 2018 figure thus far is 19,925.

The organization notes, however, that foal registration is usually completed within 12 months of birth and, because of late registration, actual foal crops aren’t known until after Dec. 31 of a crop’s 2-year-old year.

The largest cluster of declines since 1990 came from 2008-11, when crops were down 5.9% to 12.2%. Overall, the Thoroughbred foal crop fell 37.5% from 34,358 in 2007 to 21,466 in 2012. Since then, the largest year-to-year decline has been 1.9% in 2016, though the figure for that year still isn’t final.

Jockey Club Executive Vice President and Executive Director Matt Iuliano noted that the 2019 estimate is based, as usual, on an estimate that 85% of RMBs were received by Aug. 1.

The foal-crop projection each year is made the day before The Jockey Round Table in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. During the conference, Jockey Club President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Gagliano noted that the number of total starters has dropped about 4% per year, and average field size per race is now about 7.7, down from about 8 in 2011.

Fact Book statistics show average field size has held fairly steady since it fell below 8 for the first time since at least 1950. Meanwhile, the number of races per year fell 17.9% (roughly 9,000 fewer races) from 2011 to 2017.