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Ontario-Sired Thoroughbred Bonus Cut

Published: January 27, 2016 5:51 pm ET

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A letter issued to the thoroughbred racing community from Woodbine Entertainment Group notes that an incentive program will be adjusted for the 2016 season.

The letter from Steve Lym, WEG's Director of Racing on the thoroughbred side, appears below.


Attention Horsemen:

Starting in 2014, WEG has made substantial changes to its racing program.

An Ontario Sire (OS) purse bonus of 40% in all open races was introduced (except for horses that have been claimed and racing below $20,000). The bonus projection was expected to be approximately $2 million annually based on 2013 results. The purse bonus paid was $3.6 million in 2014 and $4.4 million in 2015.

As the purse expense relating to the bonus has far exceeded expectations and affordability, the bonus will need to be reduced approximately $1.4 million for the 2016 race season.

After reviewing various options, the reduction to the OS bonus will be reduced to 30% in Allowance races and Maiden Special Weight (MSW) races and to 20% for all other eligible races. Based on projections, the forecast for the OS bonus in 2016 is $3,094,110. The OS purse bonus will be monitored closely during the season, with the potential for adjustment if required.

WEG is NOT planning any changes to the base purses of our overnight races in 2016.

As declining horse supply becomes a growing factor, WEG can no longer support a parallel program of open races and restricted OS races.

Therefore maiden allowance OS races for three-year-olds and older will be eliminated. MSW OS races for three-year-olds will be offered until midsummer, and continue all season for the two-year-olds.

In 2015 Woodbine dropped the NW3 OS category, but added an optional to the NW3 $20,000 and $40,000 Claiming. For 2016 the optional portion will be dropped leaving the races as nw3 for both the $20,000 level and the $40,000 level.

The overall projection is for 1,148 overnight races, similar to the 2015 total, with approximately the same base purse expense. As external factors continue to impact the makeup of the horse supply at Woodbine, further adjustments may be necessary during the 2016 season and in future years to meet the needs of all involved in racing at Woodbine.

Steve Lym

Director of Racing
Woodbine Entertainment Group



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