Thursday, December 3, 2009

Show Me The Money

It's no secret the the American Thoroughbred market has been heavily impacted by the past year's recession. Auction numbers decreased across categories at all of this year's major sales, stud fees are down for next year's breedings, and unprecedented numbers of mares will remain uncovered. Much of the big money still being spent at America's auctions is flowing from global markets, with Dubai's Sheik Mohammed often found at the forefront of the purchasing. In a recent Blood Horse article, Case Clay of Three Chimney's farm noted the phenomenon succinctly by commenting that America's Thoroughbred industry is currently "in the export business."

But with Dubai itself arguably headed into the tank, how soon will we see reverberations to its horse economy? And how soon will those reverberations pull the supports out from under America's flagging Thoroughbred market? Those closest to Sheik Mohammed argue that the ruler's horse interests are a private passion, unlikely to be impacted by the economic crises of his nation. But if the country's over extensions into luxury accommodations and playgrounds for the rich are any indication, its horse market is also grossly inflated. And what comes up must come down. America's current sharp correction is proof of the folly of overvaluing luxury markets. The questions then are when will Dubai come down, and from where, without the superpower buying up America's top priced horses, will the next heavy hitter in the horse economy arise?

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