Woodbine Racetrack is pushing for sire bonuses to be shaved down after paying out $4.4 million last year. The popular Canadian track has already sent out notices to horsemen. The new policy would go in to effect for 2016 once totally approved.
For the past three years, purse bonuses for sires has been marked at 40%. Woodbine Racetrack hopes to reduce those payouts to 30% for allowance races and 20% for maiden special weights. They’ve even gone a step further and cut the number of races in the Ontario Sires program in half by stopping them halfway through the summer. The Maiden Ontario Sires series is being scrapped altogether as well.
This is most definitely a financial reaction to circumstance by Woodbine Entertainment Group, which oversees Woodbine Racetrack. “As declining horse supply becomes a growing factor, WEG can no longer support a parallel program of open races and restricted OS races.”
The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society is stepping forward in an attempt to try and soften Woodbine Racetrack’s stance. They recently sent out a letter to their constituents which read, “The CTHS Ontario had no participation in the construction of these changes and was only advised of them very recently. A letter was sent by the CTHS on [January 26th] to WEG expressing our grave concerns about the direction they were taking and requested immediate dialogue. Both parties have subsequently agreed to a meeting in the very near future.” It’s worth noting that the CTCS was sympathetic with Woodbine Racetrack’s financial problems.
Improper projections were the downfall of the races and that responsibility falls on Woodbine Racetrack before anyone else. They had estimated that these races would cost them around $2 million a year. In 2014 and 2015, the track paid out $8 million total. Again, this has to do with the bonuses. Base purses will be completely unaffected, but like any business that is bleeding money in a specific stream, Woodbine Racetrack is making the adjustments it feels is necessary.