Horse Capital of the World® Economics Podcast

Marion County, Fla. tops all U.S. counties by equine headcount and over 22% of Marion’s gross domestic product is equine-derived.  FTBOA’s Tammy Gantt and Steve Koch explore how 75,000 horses, nearly half of which are Thoroughbreds, support 28,500 jobs and establish the city of Ocala and surrounding regions as an equine epicenter. Horses equate to greenspace and quality of life in the true Horse Capital of the World®.

All Florida

  • $12.8 Billion total economic impact

  • 335,000 horses – 3rd largest state equine population

  • 112,000 jobs

  • 561,000 acres of land used by equines

  • 1 in 5 households participate in equine activities

Florida Thoroughbreds
  • $3.24 Billion total economic impact

  • 87,600 Thoroughbreds in Florida

  • 1 in 4 horses in Florida is a Thoroughbred

  • 33,500 jobs

  • Top three U.S. producer of annual U.S. foal crop

  • Top two producer of U.S. stakes winners

Ocala, Marion County
  • 4.3 Billion total economic impact

  • 22% of County GDP

  • 75,000 horses – largest single-county equine population in U.S.

  • 34,000 Thoroughbreds

  • 28,500 total employment (1 in 5 Marion Co. jobs)

  • 56% of equine jobs are Thoroughbred related

  • 210,000 acres, and growing (20% of Marion Co. total landmass)

Why Florida Bred?

Florida is a perennial leader in all equine and, especially, the Thoroughbred industry. We annually rank third by North American Thoroughbred foal production and top-two in stakes winners.

Florida’s Thoroughbred farms and training centers have produced:

  • 52 National Champions

  • 6 Kentucky Derby winners

  • 7 Preakness Stakes winners

  • 6 Belmont Stakes winners
  • 28 Breeders’ Cup champions

  • 6 Horses of the Year

  • 66 Eclipse Award winners

Home-bred Champions

Florida has produced more Kentucky Derby winners than any state outside Kentucky with Needles in 1956, Carry Back (’61), Foolish Pleasure (’75), Unbridled (’90), Silver Charm (’97) and the 11th Triple Crown winner Affirmed in 1978.

Triple Crown champion American Pharoah also has Florida ties with his historical Florida bloodlines including Florida-bred Classic champion Unbridled. The horse also spent his early training days in Citra, part of Florida’s breeding region hub in Marion County.

Florida-bred Dr. Fager’s mile in 1:32:1/5 in 1968 still stands as a world record.

Ocala, Florida is one of only four epicenters of Thoroughbred breeding and training in the world.

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company (OBS) perennially leads the world Thoroughbred juvenile auction market, owning 75% of the U.S. 2-year-old racehorse marketplace. OBS annual Sales of Thoroughbreds exceeds $190 million.

Equine are Big Business
in Florida

FTBOA’s Tammy A. Gantt and Steve Koch share all-new economic impact estimates for Florida horses, highlighting Florida Thoroughbreds.

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