Historically known as “The Horse Capital of the World,” Kentucky is home to over 242,000 horses, 54,000 of which are Thoroughbreds (as noted by the recent Kentucky Equine Survey). With about 450 breeding farms and 5 major racetracks, including Keeneland (the world’s largest thoroughbred auction house) and Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby), Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry has a broad economic base. According to the Jockey Club (official registry for Thoroughbreds), the state of Kentucky ranked first among North American states with 203 stallions breeding 16,764 mares in 2021. This helps to create over 24,000 jobs and $832 million in direct state revenue from the breeding and racing industry.
Major facets of the industry include Production (breeding), Performance (racing) and Commerce (sales) with a variety of hands on, managerial or administrative roles available in each sector. Working with reputable operations, gaining hands-on experience, and increasing your horsemanship skills is the best way to broaden your understanding of the industry and find a suitable career path. Additionally, there are 36 different countries where Thoroughbred breeding and racing occur allowing interested parties the opportunity for international travel and work experience.