Guidance - By Evan Hammonds

If anyone can tell us what will transpire in the next six months, they’re kidding themselves—and us. That’s one of the many lessons we’ve learned in the last few weeks as our world, sponsored by COVID-19, has turned everything topsy-turvy.

As most racing jurisdictions and meets have closed for the time being, and the March 17-18 Ocala Breeders’ Sales’ March auction was the last chance for public bloodstock commerce for the foreseeable future, it’s time to take a minute and marvel. The sport of Thoroughbred racing—and the breeding industry—has adapted on the fly. It’s proved as “resilient” as everyone has said it is.

However, the easiest part is behind us. The next several weeks ahead—we hope, right?—will offer even higher hurdles.

Directives and tasks will continue to change from day to day. The proper protocol today will wind up being vastly different tomorrow.

But we do know this: We have history on our side.

The Sport of Kings has enjoyed many triumphs and survived much turmoil since the inaugural Derby at Epsom in 1780. Johnny-come-lately, Churchill Downs has hosted the Kentucky Derby (G1) since 1875, little more than a decade after Saratoga held its first race meet.

This publication hasn’t been around that long…it just seems like it.

Four years ago BloodHorse celebrated its first century of covering Thoroughbred breeding and racing. For more than 100 years industry insiders have relied on us for news, information, statistics, and guidance.

During that time, industry insiders enjoyed the spoils of the sport while navigating their way through the Great Depression, World War II, 9/11, the Great Recession, and also surviving natural disasters such as mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS).

Interestingly enough, during the Depression the North American foal crop stayed remarkably steady. In 1930 the foal crop was 5,137. It dipped to as low as 4,924 (a drop of only 4.1%) in 1934 before climbing to more than 6,300 by 1939.

Racing was put on hold from early January to May of 1945 for the war effort and emerged stronger than it had been before as America’s economy continued to hum.

Breeders should still remember the double whammy of MRLS in the spring of 2001 and the events of 9/11 rocking the world later in the year. Despite the one-two punch the industry bounced back for most of its players to weather the financial
crisis of 2008.

Through those times BloodHorse was always there, either in the weekly mail, through an on-demand daily fax product in the 1980s, and The Blood-Horse Interactive (on that newfangled World Wide Web), to today’s and BloodHorse Daily. At every turn the company has had a masthead full of dedicated people to inform and ensure the industry…and we will continue.

The crew at BloodHorse is as tight and as talented as we’ve had. We remain: “Dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing for more than 100 years.”

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