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Where Does the Ontario Sired Program Fit in WEG’s Future?

In a broad-ranging interview in October with Canadian Thoroughbred, Woodbine Entertainment Group, WEG, CEO Jim Lawson acknowledged “broader consultation — whether it was by the HBPA, Woodbine, or both together… may have been helpful” before changes were made to the Ontario Sired (OS) program in January that caused widespread outrage in the breeding community. Some breeders and owners contend those changes were a factor in the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale being off about eight per cent in average from a year ago. Yet, Lawson said changes were necessary both because the program was paying out more than $2 million more than was allotted for it, and open horses were not getting in to race often enough, leading to short fields which is a detriment to handle. The initial changes amounted to dropping the OS bonus on allowance races and maiden special weight (MSW) races from 40 per cent (in 2015)…

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