By T. D. Thornton
Ontario purse funds from races already canceled or expected to be canceled in April and May because of COVID-19 restrictions will be redistributed to the owners of Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses in the form of a monthly stipend that requires an application process, the Ontario Racing task force announced late Thursday.
“These funds were already committed to the industry through the funding agreement for live horse racing between Ontario Racing and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG),” an Ontario Racing press release stated. “In order to be eligible to receive funds pursuant to this interim measure, owners must complete an application which must be submitted to Ontario Racing Management Inc.”
Owners of Thoroughbreds can apply for a $1,500 (CDN) monthly stipend, “which is estimated to cover half of the monthly costs associated with boarding, feed and training fees,” the release stated. Veterinary, blacksmith, shipping, and other costs were not included in the calculation of that estimate.
Eligibility requirements include the following:
- Horses must be trained and raced by an Ontario-based trainer with a valid Ontario license.
- Certification that the horse is a resident in Ontario, or has completed a stall application for the 2020 race season, or is otherwise verified to be coming to Ontario for the 2020 race season.
- The horse's first start following the resumption of racing in Ontario must be at an Ontario track, unless otherwise approved by Ontario Racing.
- Horses must be at least three years old, and either have not yet raced or have raced since Jan. 1, 2019.
“If the suspension of live horse racing in Ontario as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic continues beyond May 31, 2020, the task force intends to present a revised proposal to OLG for the reallocation of purse funds under the funding agreement, which will include payments for 2-year-old racehorses as well,” the release stated.
“Ontario Racing will continue to pay the 1.5% of purses to the horseperson's associations so they can continue to offer benefits, benevolence activities and additional assistance to those in need,” the release stated.