Racing contributes a massive $112.3 million to the south-west economy each year, a new report has revealed.
Thoroughbred racing is the biggest financial contributor, injecting $78.6 million into the region.
Harness racing contributes $19.1 million to the region, while greyhound racing isn't far behind at $14.5 million.
It also shows the industry employs 900 people in the region - with 637 full-time equivalent jobs in thoroughbred racing, 148 in harness racing and 114 in greyhound racing.
Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive officer Tom O'Connor said the figures showed the industry's impact on the region was extremely strong.
"The report highlights the importance of the industry and the need to continue to invest in our facilities here in Warrnambool," Mr O'Connor said.
"This is occurring with the $3 million upgrade of the inside grass training track."
Mr O'Connor said the economic contribution also highlighted the importance of having horse access to Lady Bay.
He said the ban on jumps racing in South Australia meant increased prize money and more meets were held in Warrnambool this season.
"Given the importance of jumps and the May carnival, it is hoped that further investment in jumps infrastructure and prize money will continue," Mr O'Connor said.
He said south-west community members were passionate about horse racing.
"Warrnambool is a passionate racing community deep in history and tradition," Mr O'Connor said.
"There is a long-standing group of successful trainers who are well entrenched in the Warrnambool community with their families and racing business. They are amazing ambassadors for the city."
Warrnambool jockey Laura Lafferty said she loved horse racing.
The 23-year-old said she never planned to follow in the footsteps of her father Peter and Kevin Lafferty - both well-known jockeys.
"I never dreamt of becoming a jockey," Ms Lafferty said.
"Life just took me along that path when I least expected it. I was at uni and thought sitting in an office for the rest of my life definitely wasn't for me. At least not yet.
"So I quit uni immediately and tried my hand at becoming a jockey. I obviously worked with horses and rode my showjumping horses all my life and when I went to the races with Dad's horses or watched it on television, I thought 'I can do that'. So I tried it - and here I am."
Ms Lafferty said she loved meeting new people at race meetings.
"I've met some incredible people and made some life-long friends," she said.
"No day is ever the same, which I love."
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said the report highlighted the important of racing in the region.
"The May Racing Carnival is a showpiece event for our region, drawing visitors from across the state and indeed from all over Australia," Ms Britnell said.
"The three-day carnival showcases the best of our region to the rest of Australia and brings together people from all walks of life.
"Jumps racing remains an important facet of the industry, especially for our region and I am hopeful it continues to flourish into the future."
The report showed the Victorian racing industry generated almost $3.2 billion in direct expenditure.
"The calculation of direct expenditure is based on the final expenditures of the racing industry - or put another way - the point at which the expenditure leaves the internal racing industry and hits the broader economy. For instance, a raceday attendee who spends money at the bar is generating expenditure within the racing industry," the report states.
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