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OSU Study Indicates State Horse Racing Industry's Effect


By Donald Stotts


STILLWATER - Economic demand based on the combined race track, production and fan sectors of Oklahoma's race horse industry total nearly $332 million, according to Oklahoma State University research.

"Research results have given hard data on what we've suspected for years; Oklahoma's combined horse racing enterprises make up an extremely large and important contributor to the state's economy," said Dave Freeman, OSU Extension equine specialist.

The four-year study conducted by the OSU departments of agricultural economics and animal science compiled information from Oklahoma race industry participantsthrough extensive use of surveys and meetings.

Estimates obtained by researchers indicate that about 42,000 horses are involvedin Oklahoma race production and use. Owners of Oklahoma race horses total about3,700 persons, with average investments of $250,000 in land, buildings, facilities, equipment and animals. The 1,850 persons identified as race horse trainers had average investments of $183,000 in land, facilities, machinery, tack and animals.

"Gross state product for the combined race track, production and fan sectors totaled nearly $189 million," Freeman said. "Employment estimates suggest that these enterprises account for a combined total of more than 11,800 full-time equivalent jobs."

The study is detailed in the newly released OSU Current Report - 3918, "Demographics and Economic Impact of the Horse Racing Industry in Oklahoma."

Freeman said it is important to recognize that horse racing activities are only one of several equine-related enterprises in Oklahoma.

"Similar in-state studies on the commercial horse industry need to be conducted to determine the effect of that large and diverse portion of Oklahoma's total horse industry," Freeman said.

Estimates on the national horse industry's effect on the Oklahoma economy suggest a $3.3 billion effect, according to a recent American Horse Council study.

"The Oklahoma horse industry was estimated to produce goods and services of morethan $760 million during the AHC study period," Freeman said.

In terms of size, the AHC study estimated more than 278,000 head of horses are housed in Oklahoma, and more than 214,000 Oklahomans are involved in the industry as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers. These figures do not include the spectator effect of the industry.

"Until an in-depth, in-state study is conducted, we will be constrained by theseestimates," Freeman said. "We can say with some assurance that Oklahoma's horseindustry has a great effect on the state economy, but we will be limited in our ability to recognize specific and additional economic development opportunities so critical for individuals and communities."

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Oklahoma State University for allowing us to provide you with this information.


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