New York Horse Industry: $2.4B Economic Impact

The horse industry in New York has an annual economic impact of $2.4 billion, according to information contained in a national economic impact study to be released soon by the American Horse Council.

Representatives of Deloitte Consulting, the company that performed the study, said they expect it to be far more accurate than the last one performed in 1996. As of mid-April, participation from horse owners was much higher.

Friends of New York Racing and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association had requested the New York information be released before the national study. The eyes of the racing world will be on New York next week when the grade I Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park.

FNYR is in the process of building a new economic model for all of New York racing. The endeavor includes all breeds and is studying everything from horse farms to video lottery terminals.

New York is one of the states that paid extra to have more detailed information in the national economic impact study, which says the horse industry in the Empire State generates 35,200 jobs. In 2003, there were 202,000 horses and 56,000 horse owners in New York; Thoroughbreds (47,600) and Quarter Horses (48,600) accounted for 48% of the horse population, the study says.

Of the $2.4-billion economic impact, $1.3 billion is attributed to Thoroughbreds, $245 million to Quarter Horses, and $850 million to others. (New York is home to an extensive Standardbred breeding and year-round racing program.) By activity, $869 million of the economic impact is attributed to racing, $234 million to showing, $249 million to recreation, and $75 million to other activities, the study said.

The racing industry accounted for 16,900 jobs. Including owners, service providers, employees, and volunteers, 152,000 people in the state are somehow involved in the horse industry. (The study doesn't include information related to employment or economic impact results for state travel and tourism business from major racing events and meets.)

FNYR president Tim Smith in a release said the numbers are more impressive given the fact they don't include the economic impact of racing on tourism and hospitality. "For example, we know from other studies that this October's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park will itself have a positive economic impact in excess of $50 million," he said in a release.

"It is important for us to quantify the economic contribution this diverse industry makes to New York state," New York THA executive director Robert Flynn said in a statement. "As the leadership in state government looks for ways to generate additional revenue, the contributions of horseracing must be taken into account."