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Cloning Thoroughbreds?

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Cigar

Cigar parades at Turfway Park after his retirement

Cindy Pierson Dulay
Updated August 01, 2005

There has long been talk of cloning horses such as Cigar who proved to be sterile and Funny Cide who was gelded long before he became a champion. Now that the technology is available you have to wonder who will be the first thoroughbred cloned and when it will finally happen. The biggest obstacle to this is not the technology or even the cost, but the Jockey Club rules of racing. Their rules state "any foal resulting from or produced by the processes of Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer or Transplant, Cloning or any other form of genetic manipulation not herein specified, shall not be eligible for registration" (see rule 1.D). Obviously if the cloned horse can't be registered he or she could not be raced or bred to produce foals that could be registered.

"Breeders should be delighted to embrace the horse cloning revolution," stated Peter Kagel, President of horsecloning.com, "because instead of receiving just a one-time stud fee or a breeding fee for a mare, they can negotiate for future royalties, just like a patent owner, should the clones they sell be either cloned themselves and/or procreate through breeding and/or generate revenue through competitions."

"The insightful horse owner who purchases the only horse cloning slot available for the entire world this season will have a chance to make a great deal more money than could be made by regularly breeding because they will multiply the negotiated royalties by the number of clones produced. It is projected that the number of clones produced could be as high as 16 based on the scientific advancements achieved since the cloning in 2003 of 3 mules by the same distinguished University of Idaho team that will do this cloning," said Kagel. Please see Project Idaho for more information.

Kagel added, "The Jockey Club Rules prohibiting artificially inseminated and cloned race horses from competing are a house of cards and will fall, more likely sooner than later. A Texas judge could rule soon that the rules violate Texas antitrust laws." (more info on this possibility here)

So in a nutshell the advantages of cloning your champion horse this season are:

  1. You get the exact replica(s) of your horse, a walking patent unto itself;
  2. You could negotiate royalties multiplied by the number of clones produced from your horse, whether cloned or bred, and/or from their competitive successes;
  3. There is a one-time chance this season to clone your horse for $367,350 plus a patent royalty fee of 15% based on the number of clones produced and their estimated value. Even though no one can guarantee a specific result, you could hit the jackpot;
  4. The Jockey Club Rules prohibiting racing clones and artificially inseminated horses is a house of cards that will fall to antitrust litigation and economic common sense, maybe sooner than later; and
  5. It makes economic sense to clone any top-of-the-line horse, whether a race horse or not.

Kagel explained it's obvious why the Jockey Club Rules are bound to fall: "Cloned horses, being from the best blood lines, are much faster than run-of-the-mill race horses. An entrepreneur will step up to the plate and produce made-for-television-races pitting clones, even identical clones, against each other that will draw huge television audiences because people want to see the fastest and legendary horses race. Betting will occur on the internet through the numerous off shore gambling websites. Fans will stay away from the tracks in large numbers. The track owners will realize that they have been relegated to minor league status and then, facing a substantial lack of revenue, will embrace cloning and the Jockey Club Rules will be changed. It's always all about money in the long run."

Kagel concluded, "The deadline to sign for the only slot available for the entire world at horsecloning.com is August 15. We will broker your clones for you as well as putting your horse on our list for next season."

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