Racing industry officials from Florida weighed in Thursday in regards to the American Horse Council (AHC)’s recently published Economic Impact Study. According to the study, the equine industry has a $6.8 billion annual economic impact in the Sunshine State-up 33% since the last study was conducted 13 years ago. The racing industry’s impact is up 47%.
“That’s significant,” said Lonny Powell, CEO of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owner’s Association in a release. “Florida truly is a horse state. To many, the beach, sun, sand, and oranges are synonymous with Florida, but our state has been steadily adding equines to that list to hang our state’s collective hat on for some time. Equines are becoming a strong part of Florida’s brand.”
P. J. Campo, The Stronach Group’s Vice President of Racing, added, “A thriving Thoroughbred industry is vital to the state’s economy and to providing world-class entertainment to spectators from around the globe… It’s significant that racetrack operators in the state generate $307 million in revenue and create over 1,200 jobs with purses in excess of $105 million. Our Miami-area operation, Gulfstream Park, is one of the gems in the racing world and its right here in Florida.”
Thoroughbred sales, particularly 2-year-old auctions held by the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, also contribute significantly to the hospitality sector as buyers flock to the area.
“Since 2010, OBS has sold over 22,000 horses for more than $1 billion dollars to buyers from every state except Alaska and 38 different countries,” said OBS President Tom Ventura. “OBS has become the destination to buy quality 2-year-olds, accounting for nearly 70% of juvenile sales in North America.”