Drop in Kentucky Foal Crop Not as Large as Projected

The Jockey Club is predicting that the 2002 foal crop in Kentucky will be about 2,000 less than last year's figure, primarily because of mare reproductive loss syndrome, but the projected decrease isn't as large as earlier estimates.

During the Aug. 18 Jockey Club Round Table in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Jockey Club executive vice president Alan Marzelli said Kentucky breeders had submitted 7,765 live foal reports through Aug. 5, down from 9,447 at the same point in 2001. That's a decrease of 20%, but the drop had been projected at 30%.

"It's not nearly as troubling as earlier estimates," Marzelli said.

Marzelli said The Jockey Club expects the 2003 foal crop in Kentucky to return to pre-MRLS levels, and that the North American foal crop for next year should be about 37,000.

MRLS, which caused mares to lose foals in Central Kentucky last spring, led to numerous research projects, some of which continue today.

The projection, traditionally announced at the time of the Round Table, is computed from Reports of Mares Bred received so far for the 2002 breeding season. RMBs are to be filed by Aug. 1 of each breeding season.

The 2003 estimate represents a 3.9% increase over the 35,600 foals forecast for 2002. The estimated 2001 registered Thoroughbred foal crop is 36,800, while the 2000 registered Thoroughbred foal crop is projected at 36,700.

Foal registration is to be completed within 12 months of the birth of the foal. However, late registration is possible for additional fees, which makes final foal crop counts not feasible before Dec. 31 of the crop's 2-year-old year, the time by which the vast majority of the foal crop has been registered.

The Jockey Club also announced that owner-breeder G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. has joined the board of stewards to fill the position vacated by Wheelock Whitney at the expiration of his four-year term of office.

Humphrey, a member of The Jockey Club since 1976 and a steward on three previous occasions since 1982, owns Shawnee Farm in Harrodsburg, Ky., and is president of GWH Holdings, Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa. He is vice president and treasurer of Breeders' Cup Ltd. and serves on the boards of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the American Horse Council. In addition, Humphrey is a director of Keeneland Association, Churchill Downs, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills Phipps has been re-elected to a four-year term as a steward of the organization.

More, The Jockey Club Fact Book