Irish-bred Chriselliam won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.<br><a target="blank" href="!i=2876862243&k=kf5LzxW">Order This Photo</a>

Irish-bred Chriselliam won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Irish Thoroughbred Industry Numbers Strong

Bloodstock sales in the country spiked 43% to $181.78 million in 2013.

Horse racing in Ireland saw mostly positive economic indicators during the 2013 season, according to Horse Racing Ireland.

Bloodstock sales in the country spiked 43% to €133.4 million ($181.78 million) and the total value of Irish-bred horses exported from Ireland, through sale at public auction worldwide, improved 17.8% to €204.5 million ($279.9 million). In 2013, Irish-bred horses were exported to 37 different countries, according to the report released Jan. 15.

"This is the third consecutive year of double-digit growth in bloodstock sales at public auction in Ireland, which at €133.4 million is now worth more than twice the 2009 figure," said Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh. "This is an accelerating trend which is very good news for the industry as a whole and confirms that the reputation of Irish bloodstock is creating vibrant demand internationally."

The number of horses n training stayed about the same, down just 0.4% to 9,199, but the number of owners declined 5.7% to 3,966.

"The horses in training figures have stabilized and are virtually on a par with 2012, after several years of decline, but it remains a challenge to retain and attract new owners," Kavanagh said.

On the racing side, on-course bookmakers saw their handle decline 6.9% to €70.8 million ($96.48 million), but total tote betting improved 6.5% to €55.6 million ($75.76 million). Although attendance improved 4% to 1.24 million patrons, total on-course betting declined 4.6% to €93.7 million (127.68 million).

Purses improved 2.5% to €44.87 million ($61.14 million) and sponsorships were up 1.6% to €3.665 million ($5 million).

Kavanagh added that Irish-breds enjoyed success on the track.

"In 2013 Irish-bred and trained horses have once again enjoyed tremendous global success. Irish-bred horses won nine of the 10 classics run in Britain and Ireland, two of the Breeders' Cup races, and for the second successive year, Australia's premier race, the Melbourne Cup (Aus-I).

"Irish-trained horses captured a record haul of 14 of the 27 races at the Cheltenham Festival, equaled the record of eight wins at Royal Ascot, and achieved a notable first ever triumph in Japan's most important jumps race."