Cathryn Sophia's emphatic 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks brought into national focus what Maryland Thoroughbred breeders have always thought – that horses foaled and raised in the Free State can compete and win on the national stage.
The Maryland racing and breeding industries are both enjoying a resurgence, thanks to an “infusion of money”. As the Baltimore Sun reports, the money is bring with it plans for major renovations at both Laurel and Pimlico; the legislature has pledged $500,000 a year to revive the Washington D.C. International, and $500,000 bonus should a Maryland-bred horse win the G1 Preakness.
At the center of the industry's revival, the Sun states, is the breeding industry. In 2012, only 369 foals were born, which according to the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, was the lowest since the industry started. Things are looking much brighter now, though – in 2014 the number had increased to 522. Although statistics for 2016 haven't been tabulated yet, the association believes the foal crop will number “closer to mid-600s.”
“There are some wonderful things going on now,” Mike Pons, co-owner of Country Life Farm said. “I hadn't seen these things going on in my lifetime.”
Read more in the Baltimore Sun
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