Spring has arrived!

Spring has arrived, and for me it represents my desire to see a renewed passion for Thoroughbred breeding and racing in Virginia. While we wait for Lilly to be “interested” in meeting her future foal’s daddy, I wanted to share with you some comments I made during my book release party on March 7. One of the reasons I wrote “The Calm Before The Storm” is to engage and educate the general reader to the sport of horse racing. You don’t have to be a horse person to appreciate the sport. One of the most interesting facts I learned in my research was that back in the 1950s, horse racing was the number one pastime, even ahead of baseball. Families used to spend the day at the racetrack, cheering their favorites and enjoying each other’s company. Now, many racetracks can only stay in business if they bring casinos onsite. In Virginia, a sad case in point is the potential closing and significantly reduced thoroughbred racing days at Colonial Downs, outside of Richmond. Virginia is the state where Secretariat was born — one of the greatest racehorses in history. Yet the state’s Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry is but a shadow of its former self. In 1993 there were 623 registered Thoroughbred foals born in Virginia, according to the 2015 Virginia Fact Book, prepared by The Jockey Club. Twenty years later, only 148 foals were born. That represents over a 75 percent decline. At its high point in 2008, Virginia offered more than 450 Thoroughbred races. Last year, only 46 races were held. There is obviously an enthusiasm for Virginia horse racing, as over 50,000 people are drawn twice a year to The Plains, Va., for the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup, steeplechase races that bring together friends and families for a full day of fun. There are people more educated on this topic than me, particularly surrounding the reasons the industry is declining, the money involved, and the political and legislative aspects of the business. But sometimes it just takes one person to see things in a different light. You see, my passion isn’t just to write my books. My passion is to help rejuvenate Thoroughbred racing in Virginia, and to encourage people to learn more about it. As I chronicle my adventures with my Thoroughbred mare Lilly, I hope to learn much along the way and educate those who may have a similar interest in what it takes to breed, raise, and train a racehorse. In turn, maybe I can ignite a passion in another person, and another, and another……. -Kimberly

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