SBOA Incentive To 'Win The Thrill'

Published: July 11, 2011 10:29 am EDT

The Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association has added some promotional punch to its longtime New Owner Mentoring Program. It is contributing a share in this year’s group as grand prize for the Ontario Sires Stakes' recently-launched 'Win the Thrill' contest


Following qualifying rounds at Grassroots and Gold final events at Clinton Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Hanover Raceway and Hiawatha Horse Park, the ownership share winner will be determined at Mohawk Racetrack on OSS Grassroots Finals Night (October 1).

The SBOA has been shepherding newcomers through the intricacies of harness horse ownership since 2005, in the hopes that many of them will get hooked on the sport --- and it has worked, just ask Jamie Trott of Orangeville, Ont.

Trott parlayed his initial SBOA foray into ownership heights still only dreamt of by most: having a contender in the Little Brown Jug. Piece Of The Rock, owned by Trott and partners and trained by Bob Young, is now honing in on $400,000 in career earnings.

“And there’s so much more than just the horse side of it,” said Trott. “I’ve made a lot of really good friends through the program, some of them I own horses with today.”

Anthony Wagner is another of the program’s biggest boosters. He was in on a 2005 SBOA group with Lemon Drop, a trotter that banked well over $100,000 for his partnership. Today, the Mississauga, Ont. resident owns parts of eight horses.

“I would truly say that I’m addicted to owning horses,” he said, “and everything to do with the horse industry.”

Wingham, Ont. residents Betty Ross and husband Jim are retired farmers that also entered the business through the Mentoring Program. Betty is a current partner in the program’s poster boy, Grin for Money, trained by John Kopas to current earnings of over $278,000.

“It’s been a real hoot,” she said. “When the race goes, we all get together in the grandstand. One guy is our cheerleader and we all yell for him.”

“We obviously love it," she added. “We now have 11 horses including broodmares, foals and horses in training."

SBOA Director Liz Waples is this year taking over the role of Mentoring Program Co-ordinator from Tammy McNiven. She sees the interaction in the program as having a twofold benefit.

“It has not only been a success in terms of bringing new owners to the sport,” she said, “but also, I think, also from the perspective of the participating mentors and trainers who get to see the sport through new eyes.”

Each partnership consists of nine new owners and a mentor, that each contributes $4,500, while the SBOA provides a 'forgivable loan' of $15,000.

Tony O’Sullivan will be the trainer for this year’s partnership, and the group will be drawing on the longtime experience and expertise of Brian Webster as mentor.

Further details and applications for the 2011 program are available here.


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