Dear Fellow ATBA Members,
As I greet you today as your new president, I first want to thank our past president Kevin Owens, and our past vice president Dennis Miller, for each serving a 3-year term in their respective functions. During their tenure, massive challenges to our industry had to be confronted and far-reaching
changes were implemented.
I want to specifically address two aspects that are indirectly connected – the move of the ATBA sale to a new venue and a later date, and the dwindling foal crop in our state.
2015 was the first year that I can remember in which Arizona’s foal crop fell below 100. While the Jockey Club’s most recent figures for mares bred to stallions standing in Arizona are not yet available, evidence suggests that our foal crop in 2016 will be even smaller. That is a far cry from its peak of 416 foals in 1997, and less than half the 202 foals we had in 2010, only five years prior. It is alarming that this decline in foal numbers occurred in Arizona with an unsustainable pace, in fact it more than double the rate seen in the nationwide decrease during the last ten years.
Ever smaller foal crops naturally resulted in fewer yearlings consigned to our ATBA Fall Mixed Sale each year. It also diminished our weight at the negotiation table with Westworld, the host of our sale since 1989. When the City of Scottsdale last April signed a long term contract with a big horse show organization – utilizing all barns and arenas for the entire
month of October – we were forced to move to a new location as well as a later date.
With the first auction at Horseshoe Park in Queen Creek under our belt, we value your feed-back so we can improve our sale for both, consignors and buyers alike. I encourage the consignors, buyers and trainers to make your voice heard and respond to the survey that you would have received in the mail last month.
Since the New Year began with even more and greater challenges, I humbly ask for your support and active participation as the entire Board continues to work hard to obtain funding for restoring our Breeders’ Awards. When we all unite and pull in the same direction, together we can turn things around and re-build a sustainable future for breeding and racing in Arizona.
I look forward to meeting you all in person at our Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Dinner on Friday, April 22; followed by the Spring Breeders’ Festival on Saturday, April 23. The nine-race card will be an Arizona-only affair: Five Stakes, headlined by the Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby and four other races are all restricted to Arizona-breds. I urge each and every owner and trainer to enter their Arizona-breds specifically in these races, so we can celebrate our home-breds with a powerful line-up and full fields on that special day.
Marvin Fleming, President