Kentucky foal crop down 9.3 percent

Kentucky's Thoroughbred foal crop was about 9.3 percent smaller this year, according to The Jockey Club, which said 1,326 fewer foals have been reported.

Nationally, the 2010 crop of 27,233 foals is down about 14.2 percent from 2009, on track to be the smallest crop since 1976. The Jockey Club predicted last month that the 2011 foal crop will fall an additional 10 percent, to 27,000.

The statistics are based on reports of live foals submitted this year; traditionally, about 90 percent of the foals are reported by this time.

Even though the state's crop declined, Kentucky continues to dominate other states in numbers of mares bred to stallions living here: 12,931 foals were bred in Kentucky, 47.5 percent of the North American crop.

Foals may be bred in one state and born in another, so that doesn't necessarily reflect the number of Thoroughbred foals born in Kentucky.

Declines were reported in all of the top 10 breeding jurisdictions except Pennsylvania, which reported an increase of 152 foals bred to that state's stallions. Pennsylvania has boosted its breeding program with purses and incentives fueled by expanded gambling.

The number of active stallions also declined 9 percent nationally.

The most active — Medaglia d'Oro, sire of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra — was bred to 205 mares.

According to The Jockey Club, Medaglia d'Oro, who had a published stud fee of $60,000 in 2009, began the season at the now-bankrupt Stonewall Farm, but later in the season the son of El Prado was bought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and moved to Darley.