COLUMBUS – Fewer standardbred mares than ever were bred in Ohio this year, a sure sign of declining horse breeding operations in the once-mighty harness racing center of the country.
The United States Trotting Association reports that 1,261 standardbred mares were bred in Ohio in 2007, down from 1,997 in 2006, and continuing a 12-year decline from 3,383 standardbred mares bred in 1996.
Once the leading producer of harness racing horses, Ohio standardbred mare breeding now ranks sixth in the nation.
The previous biggest decline, from 2004 to 2005, was under half of the 2007 decline of 736 fewer Ohio standardbred mares bred than in 2006. While Ohio’s 2007 standardbred mares bred number declined, Pennsylvania, New York and Indiana all posted gains, and many think the link has a lot to do with expanded gambling opportunities in those states.
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