In an age of extreme uncertainty for thousands of people who breed, raise, buy, race, ride or train Thoroughbreds, a new initiative introduced at the dawn of 2017 provides some hope for the Ontario industry.

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Ontario division, and the Ontario division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association announced the Mare Purchase Program (MPP) on January 4 to rejuvenate the breeding industry.
The program provides “significant financial support” to Ontario residents who purchase “new” mares at four of the early 2017 winter sales in the U.S. and breed the mares back to Ontario sires this year.

Ontario racing’s current horse population crunch has had negative effects from farm to racetrack but in the first few days of the new year the province’s breeders, owners and trainers have created an exciting initiative.
“It’s absolutely necessary to get some enthusiasm into our breeding industry again,” said Glenn Sikura, the Ontario CTHS president. “We need to increase our mare population; we hope this program will help sell seasons to Ontario stallions, trainers will have horses to train and the track will fill races.”
The announcement comes soon after the annual CTHS Ontario November 26 mixed sale which suffered a drastic drop in average horse price of 57% with almost 50% fewer horses offered in the catalogue.
Funding for the MPP, which totals $350,000, was provided by the CTHS ($200,000) and HBPA ($150,000) which developed the program in a timely fashion for the start of the Keeneland January Breeding Stock sale which began on Jan. 9. The other three sales that qualify for purchases of mares for the program are the Ocala Breeding Stock sale (Jan. 25 and 26), Fasig Tipton Midatlantic sale at Timonium, Maryland on Jan. 29 and the Fasig Tipton Kentucky Mixed sale on Feb. 6 and 7.
The program for 2017 offers:

Reimbursement of up to 50% of the Purchase Price of a Pregnant Mare, bought at 4 specific recognized public auctions. Mares must foal in Ontario in 2017 and be bred back to a registered Ontario Sire in 2017, to deliver a resulting Registered Ontario Bred, Ontario Sired Foal of 2018. The foals produced must be sold at a recognized CTHS Ontario Sale OR MAKE 2 STARTS IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO TO QUALIFY FOR MARE PROGRAM, thus supporting Commercial Breeders as well as “Breed To Race” Stakeholders.

The details:  Purchase a Mare “In-Foal” at KEE, OBS or Timonium in January 2017 or Fasig KY in February 2017 for a minimum of $5,000 USD and receive a reimbursement of up to 50% of the purchase price (paid in Canadian Dollars at par Value). A Maximum reimbursement of up to $15,000 (CDN) per mare purchased and a collective maximum of up to $50,000 (CDN) per purchaser.

The Mare must foal out in Ontario and be bred back to a registered Ontario Sire in 2017. The resulting foals will either be sold at a CTHS Ontario Sale as weanlings or yearlings or must make a minimum of two starts in the Province of Ontario by the end of it’s 3 Year Old Season. Should the horse be unable to make two starts until after it turns 4 years of age, the applicant may apply to the program administrator for an exemption. Exemptions will be considered for extenuating circumstances such as the health and well being of the horse. Exemptions will not be considered for horses racing out of Ontario.

Review Complete Program details on the APPLICATION FORM :

Application%20for%20Mare%20Purchase%20Program%20Awards_Final.pdf available through the CTHS Ontario or The HBPA of Ontario.

-If a mare costs $4,900.00 USF or less the purchaser is NOT eligible for incentive funds.

-If a mare costs $5,000.00 USF-$30,000 USF the purchaser is eligible for 50% in incentive funds (payable in CDN dollars at par).

-$8,000.00 USF purchase generates a $4,000.00 CDN incentive to purchaser.
-$24,000.00 USF purchase generates a $12,000.00 CDN incentive to purchaser.

-If a mare costs $30,100.00 USF or more the purchaser is eligible for the maximum of $15,000.00 CDN in incentive funds.

Early reaction to the program has been keen.

“We are thrilled about it,” said Kathleen Kemp, who owns Ballycroy Training Centre with husband Steve. “Steve has gone through the (January) catalogues and heading out shopping.”

“Kudos to [the CTHS],” said Arika Everatt Meeuse of Shannondoe Farm, which sold more than a dozen horses at the Winter Mixed Sale. “If you can get a few new mares into Ontario who will foal here, by American sires, you could possibly blow the catalogue for our local sales wide open.”

The Keeneland January sale begins Monday, January 9.




For horse people interested in obtaining their Assistant Trainers and Trainer’s License in Ontario in 2017, the HBPA has released the following test dates. Applicants are reminded that all applications are due three weeks prior to the test date. For further information and to access the application forms please click here.

AT and Trainer Test dates for 2017:

Application Date Test Date

March 8th                 March 22nd
April 5th                    April 26th
May 17th                   June 7th
July 5th                    July 26th
September 6th        September 27th
If you have any questions concerning the application forms please contact Corinne Phillips, Horsemen’s Services Representative, Woodbine Race Track office at 416-675-3802.



Thank you to Bryanne Langford for this cool shot of the GFR Racing Stable’s Quarter Horses and ponies in the snow in Pontypool, ON.








Jan. 3, a colt born at Brookdale Farm in Kentucky out of the maiden mare Kakadu















WINSTAR FARM, an Eclipse Award Breeder Finalist  promotes Tugel, hires O’Rourke

WinStar Farm has announced the promotion of Sean Tugel as its new Director of Bloodstock Services, and the hiring of Liam O’Rourke to the Stallion Season Sales team.

“Sean has been an integral part of our team, and his path in this business is indicative of what characteristics we look for in our team: hard work, character, a learning attitude, and growth as a horseman. Liam brings a great attitude with a knowledge of the smaller breeders, and his focus will be to help us grow our client base. I am excited to see how these two will enhance the future of WinStar Farm,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO.

A native of Rochester, NY, Tugel has been with WinStar for over 5 years, working as the Assistant Racing Manager and on the Stallion Seasons Sales team. A graduate of Ashford University with a degree in Organizational Business Management, Tugel began working under various trainers at Finger Lakes Racetrack while attending college, along with working for his father’s veterinary practice, Farmington Equine Associates. Tugel moved to Lexington in 2004 and began working at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, working his way up to an assistant manager position in his 7 ½ years with the farm. He took an equivalent position at Pauls Mill for a short time in 2010 before joining WinStar in 2011.

“I have been lucky to work and learn from some of the best horsemen in our industry from the beginning of my career, and I am excited to be able to continue to grow and be part of a great team at WinStar,” said Tugel. “WinStar is always at the forefront of the Thoroughbred industry, and I look forward to giving our existing clients and new clients an extended reach to help them with all of their bloodstock needs.”

Liam, originally from Toronto, Ontario, developed a keen interest in racing and began working at the racetrack while in high school. While completing his Finance degree at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, Liam travelled to Lexington to intern with Juddmonte Farms and Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms. Upon graduation, Liam returned to the racetrack to work for leading trainer Brian Lynch, before attending the Irish National Stud Course in 2008 where he won first prize in the pedigree research project. Returning to North American, Liam spent 4 years in season sales for Adena Springs, and most recently held the position of Stallion Services Manager at Millennium Farms.

“I am very excited to be joining the WinStar team, and having the opportunity to work alongside such intelligent, experienced and passionate horsemen,” said O’Rourke. “I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead, and I will dedicate myself to the team and the clients we serve.”