News Releases

Thursday, November 04, 2021Contact: Gary Falter (859) 224-2803
Ninth Thoroughbred Owner Conference Panel Focused on Breeding to Win

The ninth panel in the online Thoroughbred Owner Conference series held Tuesday, November 2, featured a panel devoted to breeding Thoroughbreds who discussed the research and factors they consider when making breeding decisions. The conference series is hosted by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine, Stoll Keenon Ogden, and Stonestreet Farm.

Moderated by Carolyn Conley, “Breeding to Win” featured owners/breeders Madeline Auerbach, chairperson of CARMA (California Retirement Management Account) and a member of The Jockey Club, and David O’Farrell, manager of Ocala Stud and vice chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Also on the panel was Dr. Barbara Murphy, head of Equine Science at University College Dublin, who specializes in equine reproduction and developed the Equilume Light Mask, which has become a useful breeding tool within the Thoroughbred industry. The session was sponsored by Centennial Farms and Equilume.

To start the discussion, Murphy explained the thought and science behind the Equilume Light Mask and how light, specifically blue wavelengths, affects reproductive and growth hormones.

“If you provide lighting to the pregnant mare early in the year, you also have an improvement on her breeding efficiency in that she will cycle back sooner after she foals and she will foal closer to her due date,” Murphy said. “By giving the mare light, she turns on growth hormones, which stimulates the foal to develop at the normal pace.”

Auerbach and O’Farrell spoke about the differences in breeding to race and breeding to sell, the importance of selecting your breeding stock, and ensuring your horses are in the right hands. “It’s the most wonderful thing in the world to see a horse you bred win a race,” Auerbach. “But be careful, make sure you know what you are doing, and, once again, get as much advice as you can, but remember it’s your decision and the buck stops with you and starts with you.”

“It’s easier to breed to race than it is to breed to sell because racing you can breed to horses and get runners, but they might get ugly horses,” O’Farrell said. “You can’t sell ugly horses.”

When discussing conformation, O’Farrell stated that it is very important but is not everything. “For the most part, I think we just have to understand what physical qualities your mare has and what they are lacking and what the stallions may have and what they are lacking and try to be sensible about it,” he said. “You can’t be too nitpicky. You have to consider all things including conformation, but I don’t think it’s everything.”

Talking about the importance of choosing a stallion, Auerbach noted, “It is just as important to study your mares, study her origins, and then start thinking about stallions. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

“I would agree with that,” O’Farrell said. “Put a lot of effort into understanding your mare and what she’s capable of.”

Before the Q&A session, the panel touched on the importance of aftercare. “Everybody in the supply line, the people that buy them, the people that race them, everyone as a hand in making sure that they contribute to aftercare,” Auerbach said. “Everyone has a hand in pitching in and being responsible so that these horses, when they get out of racing, that there is a place for them, that there is somewhere that they can go and live out their lives.”

The next and final session of the series will focus on aftercare and is scheduled for Tuesday, December 7, at 2 p.m. ET. It is sponsored by Canterbury Park and Gainesway Farm.

All sessions will be recorded and made available to registered guests. There is no registration fee for the live or recorded virtual conference series, but registration is required. Registration information and schedules are available at or by contacting Gary Falter at

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.