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Florida is home to more than 130,000 horse owners, who own nearly 350,000 horses valued in excess of $600 million.

Virtually every horse breed in the world is represented in Florida, led by Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Arabians.

The Florida horse industry creates more than 70,000 jobs and generates a direct and indirect payroll in excess of $1 billion.

Florida horsemen spend more than $1.2 billion in annual maintenance costs, including $185 million on feed; more than $80 million on veterinary fees, medicine and supplies; $65 million on blacksmith; $90 million on tack; $68 million on insurance coverage; and $40 million on barn utilities.

Florida-bred horses rank second only to Kentucky in North America in the amount of purse money and stakes races won.

The Florida Thoroughbred breeding industry over the years has produced 39 North American champions, 47 equine millionaires, 16 Breeders Cup and 13 Classic winners, including Triple Crown winner Affirmed in 1978.

In 1996, Florida-breds won 330 stakes races, including 110 graded stakes, and banked in excess of $130 million in purse money.

Florida-breds Jewel Princess and Skip Away each garnered 1996 Eclipse Award championship titles. Jewel Princess was the champion older female and Skip Away was crowned the champion 3-year old colt.

The Ocala area ranks as the worlds fourth largest breeding and training area, behind Lexington, Ky.; Newmarket, England; and Chantilly, France. Florida overtook California in 1996 to become the nations second largest producer of registered Thoroughbred foals.