Ontario Racing (OR) today announced a reallocation of the Horse Improvement Program (HIP) purses between the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing, commencing in April, 2019.

The HIP program purse budget, worth approximately $25 million in 2018-19, will be redistributed 51% allocated to Thoroughbred racing and 49% allocated to Standardbred racing in 2019-20, 53% Thoroughbred/47% Standardbred in 2020-21 and 55% Thoroughbred/45% Standardbred in 2021-22.

The new funding distribution is a formula based on wagering by horse playing customers on races originating from Ontario’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetracks. Currently, 55% of all sources betting on Ontario horse racing is wagered on the province’s Thoroughbred racetracks and 45% on Ontario’s Standardbred racetracks.

“This updated Horse Improvement Program allocation formula furthers the interests of horse racing and breeding in the province,” said Katherine Curry, Executive Director, Ontario Racing. “The plan attempts to equitably address the challenges of Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorse supply, which is critical to the success of Ontario’s horse racing industry.”

HIP will continue to be funded through a levy on pari-mutuel wagering revenues and delivered to Ontario’s horsepeople through purses, purse bonuses and related awards to owners and breeders of Ontario-bred and Ontario-Sired horses.

“Extensive discussions among key industry participants on Ontario Racing’s board of directors has allowed OR to create a funding formula which reflects the evolving nature of the sport in the province,” said Bill O’Donnell, President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA). “To face the future, we must unite to make it grow and prosper.”

Ontario Racing manages the Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse Horse Improvement Programs in support of the province’s horse racing industry. HIP was created by government to support the province’s racing and breeding programs, and its administration under the purview of its industry association.

“A strong Horse Improvement Program that will support current ownership and breeding of racehorses and develop new owners is paramount in making horse racing and breeding grow throughout the province,” said Sue Leslie, President of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA). “As racing in the province evolves, the industry’s understanding that we must continue to grow our fan base must stay intact.”

Ontario Racing represents over 95% of the horse racing industry, across all levels of racing and breeding of racehorses in Ontario, including representation by racetracks and horsepeople’s associations.