Ontario Racing (OR) today announced the Mare Purchase Program (MPP), designed to bolster the province’s breeding and racing industry through its Thoroughbred Horse Improvement Program (TIP), has concluded for the year.

Through the conclusion of the OBS Winter Mixed sale in Ocala on January 29, a total of 24 in-foal broodmares were purchased at various public auctions with 16 expected to be bred back to a registered Ontario sire during the 2020-21 breeding season and eligible for the MPP program offer.

The Mare Purchase Program offered eligible applicants 50 percent of the purchase price of an in-foal broodmare, up to a maximum of $15,000 (CDN), at various recognized public auctions, plus another $2,500 (CDN) as an Ontario Sire ‘breed back’ incentive.

Last month, the Mare Recruitment Program, which offered $5,000 (CDN) to horsepeople to bring an in-foal mare to Ontario to foal, also with an Ontario Sire breed back incentive worth $2,500 (CDN), had 99 broodmares with 60 pledged to be bred back to a registered Ontario sire, submitted. The paperwork for 23 broodmares (21 bred back to an Ontario sire) came through immediately after the time the program was fully subscribed. Ontario Racing will disburse for those submissions.

Through the two programs, a total of 123 in-foal broodmares have been added to the province’s broodmare band, with 76 pledged back to a registered Ontario sire.

“The success of the Mare Purchase Program and Mare Recruitment Program has gone beyond our expectations,” said David Anderson, longtime breeder-owner and Ontario Racing (OR) board member. “The objectives of Ontario Racing’s Thoroughbred Horse Improvement committee were crafted to accommodate all sectors of the racing and breeding community. We want the broodmares to stay in Ontario permanently, offer a significant incentive to breed back to a registered Ontario sire, to produce an Ontario-bred, to be sold at the local yearling sale, while eventually racing at Woodbine or Fort Erie. We’re clearly off to a great start.”

Live foal crop numbers have declined over the last three years in Ontario. In 2017, 878 foals were registered, while 826 were recorded in 2018, according to The Jockey Club. Speculative 2019 Ontario foal crop numbers are showing a continued drop in the overall registered foal figures.

“Seeing this decline in the Ontario registered foal numbers, our TIP committee needed to look at material solutions to address these challenges,” said John Hayes, Independent Chair of Ontario Racing. “Those discussions spurred the development and the promotion of the Mare Purchase and Mare Recruitment programs. These initiatives signaled to the racing community that we were trying to invest and grow this business.”

Further details of the Mare Purchase Program and Mare Recruitment Programs including criteria, as well as other notable Ontario Racing and TIP plans, are available at ontarioracing.com/Industry/Thoroughbred-Improvement-Program.