Though the genetics and economic aspects of the Jockey Club proposal are intertwined, as much as possible this paper focuses on the economic implications of a limit on the number of mares a stallion can breed. Jim Gagliano, president of the Jockey Club, was quoted in a September 6, 2019, Thoroughbred Daily News article saying, “We cannot predict the economic effects of a limitation because of the complexity of the interactions among participants in the breeding and selling markets.” As explained in the following, significant economic consequences are predictable with considerable accuracy. Most especially in the short and intermediate terms, the economic outcomes of a significant limit on mares bred are in substantial part negative for breeders and racing, and those negatives consequences would appear to be justifiable only if a substantial improvement in the vitality of the breed would result from the genetic effects of a limit on mares bred. Additionally, the imposition of a 140-mare limit would raise significant fairness questions related to the allocation of benefits and costs arising from the imposition of a limit on mares bred.
The analysis in this paper will address the following questions regarding the economics of the Jockey Club proposal: What will the costs be and who will bear the costs? What groups will benefit and what groups will be disadvantaged? Are there significant “fairness” considerations? If so, what are they and how could they be addressed? Will a limit on mares bred affect the number and quality of foals produced? Will industry segments other than breeding be affected, most especially racetracks?
If there is an optimal limit on mares bred by a stallion, it is unlikely that it is the arbitrary number of 140, which is the same limit that the much smaller quarter horse breed imposed some years ago. Nevertheless, given that 140 has been proposed by the Jockey Club, it will be used as the reference point for the analysis and discussion of the economic implications of a limit in what follows.
Losey, Robert L. Ph.D., "On the Economics of the Jockey Club’s 140 Mare Limit Proposal" (2020). Faculty Scholarship. 445.