Ontario breeders hoping to benefit as Grand Circuit action heats up

Milton, ON — Each year Tammy McNiven enrolls every member of the Twinbrook Farms broodmare band in the Ontario Resident Mare program.

The Embro, Ontario resident enrolls both the mares bred to Ontario sires and those bred to United States-based stallions. Those producing Ontario Sired horses are eligible for breeders rewards related to the Ontario Sires Stakes program and both sets of mares are eligible for the breeders rewards connected to the Grand Circuit stakes races hosted by Woodbine Mohawk Park.

“It’s like a stake payment in a way. That’s all it is; I’m staking my bet that we’ll have something come back and race in Ontario, for the American-breds anyways. For the Ontario-breds you’re silly not to pay it, because that’s a lot of money that could go towards a new mare,” said McNiven. “That’s what we try to do with all our breeder’s awards, we usually try to buy a new mare, a new young mare and bring her to Ontario.”

A total of C$1.1 million is distributed to breeders each year in the form of Ontario Bred Rewards. Each top five finish by the 2- and 3-year-old offspring of an Ontario Resident Mare in Ontario Sires Stakes or Grand Circuit stakes action contributes to their breeder’s awards.

“We’re going to get the benefit if — small word, big meaning — if that horse comes back and races in those stakes that are eligible,” said McNiven. “And usually, if that happens, my breeder’s awards basically pay for the whole next year broodmare band, to enroll. If we get somebody even that finishes about fifth in the She’s A Great Lady or something like that, we might get C$3,000, which always helps to go toward your bottom line.”

Breeders can enroll their mares at any point before Sept. 1 of the current foaling year, but enrollment before the mare foals lowers the cost to C$100. After foaling, and before Sept. 1, the fee increases to C$300 and third party proof of residency must be provided.

“I like to pay mine as soon as possible. I like to pay mine in the fall so then I know they are done for the next year,” said McNiven. “If a mare comes up empty or aborts I’m out C$100, but I’ve wasted more money frivolously.”

In 2018 there were 1,109 broodmares enrolled in the Ontario Resident Mare program. In order to be eligible mares must reside in Ontario for a minimum of 180 consecutive days and mares must be enrolled every year prior to the Sept. 1 deadline.

More information about the Ontario Resident Mare program is available on the Ontario Racing website at Ontario Resident Mare Program. Further questions can be directed to program co-ordinator Kathie Wilkinson at ontariomare@ontarioracing.com or 416.477.5529.

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