While we await word from the Virginia Racing Commission regarding how much money we will have to pay year-end Breeders Awards and Stallion Awards for the Virginia Breeders Fund, we don’t anticipate good news.

The reason is pretty simple – Thoroughbred handle declined another 17.8% in 2009 making it two years in a row the industry has suffered from steep declines.

Total TB wagering (through the traditional on-track and OTB systems) was $95,957,788, down from $116,787,521 in 2008. To make matters worse, the $95 million in 2009 is a gigantic drop off from the $131,815,342 wagered in 2007. Simply put, TB wagering has declined 27% over the past two years.

The impact is felt on the Breeders Fund and the numbers are also all too easy to understand. In 2007, the Fund was approximately $1.3 million, in 2008 $1.1 million and in 2009 $959,000. That $340,000 is sorely missed.

Thankfully, it looks like the ADW companies which handled a total of $44.9 million in 2009 (that’s a 37% increase over last year) will be making a Breeders Fund contribution this year. Depending how much is wagered on Standardbreds and how much is wagered on Thoroughbreds, we should be able to recapture that $340,000.

Doesn’t make the Fund rich, but it helps…