November 13, 2010 - Breeding Decisions: To Retire or Keep Racing?

  • November 09, 2010
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Fall is the time of year that the question of retiring racehorses for breeding purposes enters the thoughts of people in the Thoroughbred business. Taking into consideration a variety of factors, horsemen must, on a case-bycase basis, evaluate whether their horses should stay racing or make the transition to breeding. Once the decision is made to retire, there are unique transition concerns, especially for maiden mares.

Overview of factors So much of the world of Thoroughbred racing is part art, part science. In deciding to move a filly or mare from a racing to a breeding career, horsemen have to look at a variety of factors regarding their prospective broodmare. Some of the decision is affected by the owners’ level of involvement in the game (solely for racing or commercial breeding or a combination of both) and their expectations for the future.

Everyone approaches the decision to retire from a slightly different angle. Barry Irwin of Team Valor International near Versailles, Ky., said, "Basically, we operate a racing stable of horses that are owned
in the limited liability company format by members that own fractional interests. The purpose of the partnership is to provide
members with as many quality racing opportunities as possible. Unlike professional breeders that must maximize the financial aspects of an enterprise, we are more interested in proving our fillies on the racetrack
than fashioning their subsequent careers as broodmares, so we might race a mare longer than commercial breeders."

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