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Texas Horsemen Leaving State, Survey Says

Texas HORSE survey indicates breeders and owners are leaving the state.

Press Release
February 14, 2013

Texas HORSE

Results of an online survey of Texas racehorse breeders, owners and trainers offer dramatic proof that the majority of these people are leaving Texas to participate in the industry elsewhere. The poll was conducted by Texas HORSE from January 15 through February 8, and the survey asked eight questions related to the Texas racing industry.

Of the 287 Texas-based respondents:

•    245 are racehorse owners, 185 are breeders and 68 are trainers.
•    54 percent own six or more horses and 20 percent own 20 or more.
•    79 percent currently race in Texas.
•    81 percent also currently race in other states.
•    50 percent say that 75 percent or more of their racing is conducted out of state.
•    38 percent have an investment of more than $250,000 in horse racing in Texas.
•    50 percent have annual expenses of more than $50,000 in horse racing in Texas.
•    43 percent say they will reduce their investment in the Texas horse racing industry in 2013.

“This is very clear proof that our Texas racehorse breeders, owners and trainers are moving their racing operations primarily to the surrounding states of Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma, where the purses and breeders awards are significantly increased by slot machines at the racetracks,” said Dan Fick, executive director of Texas HORSE, which conducted the survey through www.texas-horse.com and Texas horse racing industry e-newsletters.

Micah McKinney, vice president of Reliance Ranches, a major racehorse breeding and training facility in Llano, Texas, said the situation is affecting his family's operation.

“In 2007, our family moved to Llano to raise Texas-bred Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds to primarily race at Texas tracks,” McKinney said. “Since that time, as purse monies and race opportunities have declined in Texas and increased in Oklahoma and New Mexico, our focus has shifted to racing in those states. We may soon be forced to move our breeding operations to those states in order to survive and prosper.”

Texas HORSE is asking the Texas Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment this session to allow the people of Texas to vote this year on whether or not they should be able to play slot machines at racetracks in Texas. If passed, the Texas horse racing industry will be able to compete with surrounding states on a level playing field.

A recent poll by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research shows that 82 percent of 1,001 registered Texas voters support putting the expansion of gaming in Texas on the ballot for the voters to decide. A 2011 “Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Slot Machines at Racetracks in Texas” by TXP, Inc. of Austin, Texas, showed that slot machines at licensed Texas racetracks could produce at maturity as much as $1 billion in state tax revenues.

Texas HORSE (horse organizations for racing, showing, eventing) comprises the largest group of horse organizations in Texas united to introduce and pass legislation to help Texas regain its leadership position within the horse industry. Successful legislative efforts of Texas HORSE are designed to invigorate and restore the ground lost to other states while providing resources to the many horse enthusiasts who participate in diverse disciplines. Texas HORSE is committed to keeping the more than 1 million horses in the state that contribute $5.2 billion directly to the Texas economy with a workforce of nearly 96,000 employees.

For more information about Texas HORSE, contact Executive Director Dan Fick at (817) 845-2917 or dan@texas-horse.com and visit www.texas-horse.com.