2018 Standardbred Improvement Program Approved

Published: September 20, 2017 03:40 pm EDT

The 2018 Standardbred Improvement Program (SIP), based on the recommendations of the industry representative Standardbred Advisory Group, has been approved by the Ontario Racing Board of Directors. The SIP program is one of the most successful of its kind in North America and our Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred Standardbreds compete and win against the best in the world.

The total 2018 program, which includes participation fees, is projected to be $15 million, with projected Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) purses of $13.25 million and Ontario Bred Rewards totaling $1.13 million.

In addition to the $15-million program, Woodbine Entertainment Group will be voluntarily contributing $300,000 towards SIP to directly fund opportunities to increase horse supply (in addition to $300,000 towards the Thoroughbred Improvement Program).

2018 Standardbred Improvement Program Details

Since 2014, HIP Revenues have included approximately $26 million in wagering levies from the Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction (PMTR) as well as a top-up to bring each of the Standardbred and Thoroughbred Programs to the $15 million level. However, due to a change in the funding mechanisms, HIP Revenues are currently limited to levies from the PMTR. Therefore, the 2018 Program has had to be adjusted to accommodate a funding decrease of approximately $2.5 million per breed.

Since OSS purses were identified by the Advisory Group as a priority, the two- and three-year-old $2 million Owners’ Bonus based on overnight earnings, which was in place for 2017, has been discontinued.

Gold and Grassroots purses and Starting Fees have been maintained at the same level as 2017. However, the maximum SIP contribution has been adjusted due to the projected increase in horse supply. in 2018, especially the pacing supply.

Grassroots Semi-Finals have been added back into the Grassroots Program in place of the sixth Grassroots event. Purses for the Semi-Finals will be $20,000 with no Starting Fees required. Ontario Bred Rewards on OSS earnings and Open Stakes earnings have been maintained at $1,000,000 and $130,000 respectively.

Two and three-year-old sustaining fees have been increased by $100 for the 2018 season. As well, mare enrolment fees for the Ontario Resident Mare Program have been increased by $50.

2018 Standardbred Improvement Program


  • Gold Legs (five events for each age/sex/gait) with multiple divisions – SIP contribution of $180,000 divided by number of divisions + Starting Fees ($800) added directly to purses:

    • If two-year-old pacing Gold legs require four or more divisions, funds are available for the SIP contribution to be increased to $200,000 for two events for colts and two events for fillies

  • Gold Leg (One Division) - $117,000 + Starting Fees ($800) added directly to purse

  • Gold Super Final - $225,000 with no Starting Fees

  • Grassroots Division (five events for each age/sex/gait) - $16,000 + Starting Fees ($350) added directly to purses. Maximum SIP contribution per events:

    • two-year-old pacing events - $112,000 (seven divisions)

    • three-year-old pacing events - $80,000 (five divisions)

    • All trotting events - $48,000 (three divisions)

  • Grassroots Semi-Finals - $40,000 ($20,000 per division with no Starting Fees)

  • Grassroots Final - $50,000


  • Ontario Bred Rewards for OSS earnings - $1 million, paid on a pro-rata basis in January of following year

  • Ontario Bred Rewards for Open Stakes - $130,000, paid on a pro-rata basis in January of following year (individual cap of 20% per horse)

(Ontario Racing)

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