A reader writes:
My father is a Thoroughbred breeder in Virginia. For pure breeding operations such as his, the cash flow works as follows: mare is bred early in the year, foal is born early the next year. Stud fee is due once foal stands and nurses, in most cases. The following September, the yearling is sold at auction. This year, between 50% and 75% of yearlings sold for less than the stud fee paid. As a result, breeders do not have the cash on hand to pay the stud fees for mares that are now in foal. Mares are being put down so that the foal cannot stand and nurse, and the stud fee is then not due. Just to clarify, my dad has not and will not be putting down any mares, but anecdotally, it is happening.