Florida Thoroughbred History Moments: Needles’ Derby Triumph Sparks Florida’s Thoroughbred Industry

Needles was the first Florida-bred to win the Kentucky Derby in 1956. His milestone led to a flood of tourists to see the champion in the rolling hills of Central Florida.

Visitors found limestone-rich pastures and spring-fed aquifers under moss-draped live oak trees good for growing strong horses, which led to an explosion of farms in the county. More than 750 Thoroughbred farms dot Marion County’s landscape today along with more than 38,000 Thoroughbreds.

Needles was inducted into the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce for his achievement. Four more Thoroughbreds would join him before the national Chamber said, “No more horses, only humans can create an economic impact.” The horse world would disagree to the tune of  $2.3 billion annual economic impact, 21,000 jobs and preservation of 195,000 acres in the county thanks to equines.

The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association has launched a digital campaign promoting the successful history of Florida-breds born and raised in the Sunshine State.

The series titled “Florida Thoroughbred History Moment” features an opening and closing image of an old-timey newsreel much like those featured in movie theaters in the 1940s. Along with the sound of the whirr of the newsreel, each video is narrated by the distinctive voice of Hugh Kelly giving an even more nostalgic feel. Based in Florida, Kelly lends his voice perfectly to the series.

Each ‘Florida Thoroughbred History Moment’ vignette highlights a significant achievement in Florida-bred history focusing on the people, the horses and the farms that have contributed to its success since the industry kicked off in earnest after Needles’ 1956 Kentucky Derby win.

The post Florida Thoroughbred History Moments: Needles’ Derby Triumph Sparks Florida’s Thoroughbred Industry appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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