02/27/2014 2:56PM

Woodbine: Ontario-sired runners eligible for new bonus in open-company races


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The lucrative Ontario-sired program will be modified this year at Woodbine to allow for a 40 percent purse bonus for Ontario-sired runners when they compete in open company.

Details of the program, which were announced jointly Thursday by Woodbine and the Ontario division of the HBPA, state that eligible Ontario-sired horses will collect the bonus in unrestricted races. The exception will be Ontario-sired runners in claimers worth less than $20,000 who were previously claimed at any price.

“The new 40 percent Ontario-sired bonus stacked on top of the pre-existing 20 percent Ontario-bred bonus for eligible horses in open races has stunning implications for the province’s racing program,” HBPA executive director Sue Leslie said. “Breeders with Ontario sires and horsepeople who are considering foaling Thoroughbreds in Ontario have tremendous financial incentive to do so with this reorganization of the Ontario-sired incentive program.”

The program will be funded by adjustments in the Ontario-sired race conditions. Ontario-sired $25,000 maiden claimers have been discontinued, and Ontario-sired nonwinners-of-three allowances will be combined with open $40,000 nonwinners-of-three claimers. Additionally, Ontario-sired maiden special weight and Ontario-sired nonwinners-of-two allowance purses have been decreased to $45,000 and $47,500, respectively.

“The streamlined conditions allow for more opportunities to fill open races with large fields, which horseplayers desire,” said Steve Koch, Woodbine’s vice president of Thoroughbred racing.

The purse bonus is subject to Ontario Racing Commission approval. Opening day for the 133-day Woodbine meet is scheduled for April 12.