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Infilise Addresses Quebec Industry

Published: December 18, 2012 11:31 am ET

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The Quebec Jockey Club is on track to double purses in 2013, to a total of $2 million, up from $900,000 in 2012, QJC President Tony Infilise has said in an open letter to the industry.

The QJC will present 40 cards of racing next year, double the number from 2012. All the programs will be presented at Hippodrome 3R, which the QJC purchased in 2012, but by 2017 its hoping to add another country track, built somewhere in the Montreal area. The goal is to have the two offer a combined 100 programs and $10-12 million in purses annually, with provincial wagering from all sources reaching about $100 million a year.

Infilise said the regional racing circuit also is getting a boost to its purse budget next year, to $200,000 from $168,000.

The QJC has made encouragement of the breeding industry a priority, but Infilise acknowledged that the shortage of broodmares in Quebec is a problem. There were only about 200 registered for the past two breeding seasons.

The contents of Infilise's open letter appear below.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)


Open letter to members of the Quebec Standardbred Horse Industry

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to confirm more than a doubling of purses in 2013 from the levels of 2012. In fact we estimate our purses in 2013 at $2MM for 40 programs versus $900K in 2012 for 20 programs. With regard to the fair circuit (Circuit Regional) we will offer support for 12 race dates and $200K versus 10 and $168K in 2012. We will publish details on this site shortly of the Quebec Jockey Club programming for 2013.

During October last we announced purses for finals of the Quebec series for QM(Quebec Mares) in 2016 of $100,000 per category for foals resulting from 2013 breedings and separate finals of $50,000 in 2016 for QP(Quebec sired) foals. In both cases the actual events are conditional on a sufficient number of starters. The QM and QP foals will race together in the eliminations but separately in the finals. QP foals who are also QM can race in the QM finals if they have earned sufficient number of points. Owners of QP foals will benefit from a 35% bonus when racing against QM foals; Breeders will benefit from bonuses of 5-20% for foals racing in the Quebec series. The QP foals will also benefit from a 35% advantage on earnings in condition races.

When we announced the QJC breeding policy in 2010 we indicated that we would review our policy in 2013 and we do confirm that this will be done in late summer or early fall.

We have succeeded as an Industry to eliminate several uncertainties: purchase of Hippodrome 3R in May; obtained the necessary changes concerning Off-track Betting Parlours (OTBs) and have opened 4 in 2012 and 1 Inter-track OTB at 3R with 6 to be opened during 2013. Nevertheless, we have much work to do to achieve viable economic conditions to sustain our Industry. We are approaching our objectives step-by-step.

The current phase includes the following:

  1. Eliminating a maximum amount of uncertainty with 40 programs at 3R in 2013, 12 race dates on the Fair Circuit(CR) and 10 OTB’s and 1 Inter-track OTB as well as the Internet betting on HPI.
  2. Increasing progressively the level of purses to probably reach approximately $4MM in 2017 with existing sources of revenue.
  3. Increasing the Quebec broodmare band in various ways as we restore momentum in our Industry. In the last two years we have only had the following: 2011 breeding year, 66 trotting mares and 121 pacing mares for a total of 187; 2012 69 trotting mares and 132 pacing mares for a total of 201.
  4. Augmenting business for Quebec farms by encouraging Quebec mare owners to bring their mares back to Quebec and encouraging the purchase of in-foal mares by January 31, 2013.
  5. Fostering enhanced values for foals eligible to the Quebec Series.
  6. Providing incentives for owners and breeders to invest in our Industry such as announcing finals for $75,000 in 2014, $100,000 in 2015 and 2016.
  7. Encouraging increasingly competitive Quebec race horses, both QM and QP.
  8. Continuing to convey the benefits and strengths of our Industry in Quebec and have it appreciated and valued by all our Publics. We made huge progress in 2012 and intend to continue that in 2013.

Our Industry Vision 2017

  • The Standardbred Industry is a growth Industry and supporting growth of the Quebec economy and creation of jobs.
  • 3,000 direct jobs across the Province and $150MM in economic activity.
  • 100 race dates, with purses of $10-12MM, at two professional racetracks including 70 at 3R and 30 at a second rural track in the greater Montreal region where most of the horse owners reside.
  • 20-25 race dates for the Circuit Regional at 12-15 fair tracks in all regions.
  • Wagering of over $100MM combing live, HPI (internet) and OTBs.
  • A high level of integrity for the racing and gaming products.
  • Quebec breds are of increasingly high quality being exported to the rest of Canada, the USA and Europe.

We are already seeing demand growing for foals eligible to the Quebec series. While currently the majority of breeders are non-commercial and seeking to have foals fully competitive in North America, we at the QJC see a viable business opportunity for commercial breeders to offer foals from good mares eligible to the Quebec series for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 to Quebec residents. The QJC is prepared to collaborate with the ATAQ to have horse sale(s) held at 3R in the spring and/or fall to provide a market venue.

The OJC does believe that to have an important QP program viable that the following would need to be in place:

  • At least $10MM in purses.
  • 100 race dates between 3R and another racetrack in the greater Montreal area.
  • A broodmare band in Quebec of 800 mares or more.

These parameters would allow horse owners to see more easily their horses and have a reasonable chance of making a profit while allowing breeders a reasonable opportunity to sell yearlings from good mares at a profitable price.

The QJC is preparing the next steps towards these objectives. Together we will continue to move our Industry forward.

On behalf of my colleagues at the QJC I do wish you the very best for the Holiday season and the New Year.

Cordially,

Tony Infilise
On behalf of the Quebec Jockey Club



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