There will be an extra buzz at Ontario racetracks this summer as the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association renews the highly successful New Owner Mentoring Program.
For an investment of $4,500 nine people will have the unparalleled opportunity to be mentored by Hall of Fame horseman Bill O’Donnell and trainer Dustin Jones as they select an Ontario-sired yearling from the fall sales and train it through the winter in preparation for the 2016 racing season.
“We’ll educate them about the ground-up stuff, the grassroots stuff,” explains O’Donnell. “They might be fans that go to the races, but haven’t seen this side before.”
In addition to his years of expertise, O’Donnell will also contribute $4,500 to the partnership, and the SBOA will boost the group’s initial operating fund to $60,000 through a $15,000 forgivable loan.
“That will allow the group to buy their yearling — and it has to be an Ontario-sired yearling sold at an Ontario sale — and then the first year is covered for training and staking and whatever,” explains SBOA Vice President Tammy McNiven.
Horses from the first 11 new owner groups ranged from Grassroots performers to Gold Final winners, earning from $27,000 to $500,000, but one yearling did not make it to the races and McNiven emphasizes that there are no guarantees.
“It’s not something where we say you are going to get your money back,” she notes. “It’s a learning experience.”
Several graduates of the New Owner Mentoring Program have put their education to work purchasing additional racehorses or breeding stock, including Adriano Sorella. A part of the 2008 Ten Most Wanted Stable — whose M G Home Run earned $142,183 under the tutelage of trainer Casie Coleman and mentor Rick Kostoff — Sorella went on to co-own 2013 Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation.
“We have had some success stories over the years,” says McNiven. “We hope we can get people interested, get some new people involved.”
Detailed information and application forms for the 2015 New Owner Mentoring Program are available on the SBOA website www.standardbredbreeders.com, or by contacting McNiven at 519-475-4276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enhanced breeders reward program for 2015
After a series of productive meetings with the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and Ontario Horse Racing (OHR), the SBOA was pleased to sign an agreement enhancing the current breeders reward program by approximately $3 million per year from 2015 to 2018.
In addition to the current Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired rewards, the enhanced program will reward breeders across four levels of participation.
The first tier provides rewards to the owners/lessees of eligible Ontario Resident Mares who invested directly in the Ontario Standardbred breeding industry by breeding to an Ontario Sire in 2014. Approximately $1 million in breeder’s incentives will be paid out on a pro rata basis — as determined by the advertised service fee of the Ontario Sire (recorded with the OSS for the 2014 breeding season) — for all foals registered by December 31, 2015 that are both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred. The first foals eligible for this incentive are the foals of 2015 produced from matings between Ontario Resident Mares and Ontario Sires.
Tier 2 sees an approximate $1 million increase to the Standardbred Improvement Program’s Ontario Bred rewards. The rewards will be paid on a pro-rata basis to the owners/lessees of eligible Ontario Resident Mares with purse-winning offspring, which are both Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired, racing in Ontario Sires Sakes races and selected open stake races in Ontario. These rewards will commence with the 2015 stake season.
Also beginning in 2015, the third tier will reward the breeders of the top three Ontario Bred performers in each of the eight divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes. A $50,000 reward will be split (First – $25,000; Second – $15,000; Third – $10,000) among the owners/lessees of the eligible Ontario Resident Mares that produce the top three money earners in each division.
Finally, the fourth tier will see $100,000 paid to the owner/syndicate of the top Ontario Sires Stakes stallions based on progeny earnings in each of the following OSS categories: 2-year-old trotters; 2-year-old pacers; 3-year-old trotters; 3-year-old pacers. The leading stallions from the 2015 OSS season will be the first group eligible for these rewards. To qualify for the rewards stallions must currently reside in Ontario.
To benefit from the enhanced program, breeders need to enroll their broodmares in the Ontario Resident Mare Program in 2015. To qualify as an Ontario Resident Mare, the mare must be enrolled with the Program each year and meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the Program Criteria booklet produced by the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC). Further information on the Ontario Resident Mare Program is available at www.ontariohorseracing.ca.
Additional information about the enhanced breeder’s reward program can be found at www.standardbredbreeders.com.