Industry Reports

What’s in Store for Ontario’s Horse People?

Ontario’s Standardbred Improvement Program wants to see an improvement for the horse people of the province, as they have been through a lot over the past five months. Walter Parkinson, President of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association, recently highlighted the main selling points of this innovative program given the dynamically changing situation.

The horse people of Ontario have been through a lot over the past months, as mid-March Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced the suspension of live racing within the province. It affected both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing. Individuals still needed to take care of the horses, perform daily grooming, as well as introduce light training ahead of the live racing season that is currently in progress.

Support Programs

The beginning of the summer months saw the official relaunch of live racing at the racetracks making it possible for the people taking care of the horses to work for the purses and be able to sustain the horse racing field of Ontario. The fall months of every year is the time for yearlings purchase, along with breeding of Standardbred horses.

Individuals interested in making their first steps in this field could do so in collaboration with the Standardbred Improvement Program. Mr. Parkinson is the President of Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association and the Standardbred breeder representative on the board of Ontario Racing. He highlighted the most convenient features the program has up for grabs, such as the Ontario Sires Stakes program.

It brings purses amounting to some CA$15 million ranking it among the most generous sires stakes. The program comes with two tiers along with a third one called Prospect Series which pioneered this year. Ontario Racing oversees it and aims to enhance its features so that more people prefer it. Along with it, there are also the Thoroughbred Improvement Program and the Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program.

Purses Projections

The three improvement programs aim to cover the entire field and provide each breed with the support it needs in order to thrive in the long run. Purses are of utmost importance to the horse people, as they make their work a sustainable one. The Gold purses manage to surpass the CA$100,000 mark during each race and usually, all eyes are set on them. Meanwhile, the Grassroots division manages to reach some CA$23,000 per race.

The past few months are expected to leave their imprint on the purses, as Mr. Parkinson recently pointed out. The thing that makes Ontario more favorable for the people working with horses is the long-term provincial funding agreement in place, it was able to support the field during these trying times earlier this year.

Ontario Racing wanted to help the people involved in the horse racing field of the province, so it resorted to an amendment of the existing Funding Agreement for Live Horse Racing that has been established between the Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Ontario Racing. Standardbred, Thoroughbred, and Quarter horse owners would be eligible for support during the months without live horse racing events.