03/06/2017 5:27PM

Ontario HBPA objects to Woodbine keeping half of money cut from stakes schedule

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario has come out against the way a significant cut in the Woodbine stakes purses will be redistributed.

Released last week, Woodbine’s 2017 stakes schedule revealed a $2 million reduction in purses. The biggest cuts were to the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and the Grade 1 Canadian International, which were both lowered to $800,000 from $1 million. Numerous other stakes received a $25,000 decrease.

Four stakes were cut from the schedule, while one was added, the Trillium, which was previously an overnight event.

Half of the money that was trimmed will be allocated to overnight purses, while the other $1 million will go to Woodbine Entertainment Group, according to an HBPA release.

“The HBPA holds the view that the entire $2 million stakes reduction should be used to increase overnight purses,” the release said. “The HBPA’s position could change if we were provided transparent evidence that WEG requires that other $1 million to assist in WEG operations for the betterment of horse racing. WEG has offered different reasons throughout the negotiations as to why they should retain half of the stakes cuts.”

According to the HBPA, Woodbine is contemplating running one fewer race a week, which would result in at least a $500,000 reduction in purse distribution over the course of the meet.

The Ontario-sired program has evaded any reductions this year, but it has been modified. Races for $40,000 non-winners of two and $40,000 non-winners of three claimers will be combined with the corresponding NW2 and NW3 Ontario-sired allowance condition. Last year, only Ontario-sired first-level allowances were carded.

The base purse for maiden special weight events has been boosted from $55,900 to $61,000. First-level allowances have gone from $58,600 to $61,000.