Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Director Chauncey Morris says the equine industry is, quote, “in a very good place now.”
One of the best examples of the success of the horse industry in the commonwealth is the just completed Kentucky Derby. Morris says 85 percent of the horses in the big race were Kentucky bred.
And the KTA executive says the economic boost extends well beyond the track. “You really can see that at play in places like Louisville and Lexington when the hotel rooms are all booked up and the restaurants are absolutely filled to the gills and people are shopping and people are spending money,” said Morris. “Most of those people are out of town.”
Morris says an updated economic impact study by the American Horse Council puts some 56,000 jobs directly associated with all breeds of the equine business.
He anticipates his industry will ultimately be asked to justify tax breaks benefiting horse farms.
Morris says that could happen in a special legislative session. He adds says those in the thoroughbred business need to demonstrate the value of the equine industry and defend tax exemptions. “This is something that every single industry is going to have to do, manufacturing, larger employers like UPS who enjoy the jet fuel exemption,” noted Morris. “We’d be right in the middle of it.”
Since the recession of a decade ago, Morris says part of the industry rebound has come from partnership ownership of race horses.