Update from the KTA Executive Director: Chocolate Cookies and Four Million
Friday, January 29, 2016 Share on Facebook RSS Feeds

Kentucky boasted some very impressive statistics in 2015. Thanks to a successful Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, total all-sources handle in Kentucky surpassed the billion-dollar mark ($1.046 billion), a first since 2008. Moreover, the national telecasts of the Kentucky Derby & Oaks, and both days of the Breeders’ Cup scored the highest television ratings since 1992 and 1995, respectively. There is a global trend towards “big event” days of racing, and Kentucky’s premier days surpass the competition:

2015 Major Race Attendance

Kentucky Derby  170,513 
Japan Derby  129,000 
Kentucky Oaks  123,763 
Preakness Stakes  101,015 
Melbourne Cup  95,102 
Breeders' Cup (Keeneland, 2-day)              95,102 
Belmont Stakes  90,000 
Prix I'Arc de Triomphe (2-day)  71,212 

For the Kentucky breeder, the Jockey Club tells us the 248 stallions standing in Kentucky covered 48% of the nation’s broodmares, and we accounted for 32% of the foal crop. Beyond that, we finished up 2015 with supplying  75% of the American Graded Stakes Winners, 74% of Million Dollar Earners, 70% of Grade One Stakes Winners, and thanks to American Pharoah (more about him in a minute) 9 out of 12 Triple Crown Winners. Ky-bred horses didn’t do half-bad in Europe either, with War Front’s Air Force Blue being crowned their Champion Two-year old, and Mr. Ward working his magic at Royal Ascot with Undrafted.

In 1958, Tim Tam won the Kentucky Derby. In the crowd was Ross Arnott, an Australian whose family business had been making baked goods since 1865. Mr. Arnott’s “boys in the backroom” had developed a new chocolate cookie, and inspired by the race named it after the Derby winner. The next time you visit Australia, you’ll see these literally everywhere.  Cue American Pharoah, crowned the Longines World’s Best Racehorse for 2015 by a committee of international handicappers. The horses you and your families produce and race in Kentucky and beyond have captured the imagination of the racing world and popular culture through the generations. Fans and competitors alike are impressed that a state with a population of 4.4 million people can do one thing, breeding and racing Thoroughbred horses, arguably better than all others. A very happy new year to all of you.

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