Following the announcement on May 26, 2021, Ontario Racing is pleased to announce that the amount for the Thoroughbred May equine benefit, due to the suspension of live horse racing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been increased for this payment only. If live racing is still prohibited under provincial orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of June, a new round of funding may be available to Thoroughbred horsepeople (subject to approvals) with requirements for eligibility.

The May equine benefit payment will be $1,700 per qualified horse. This amount is an increase from the April payment of $1,125 per horse as more funds are available in May to allocate to equine welfare payments given the greater amount of racing days that were cancelled when compared to April. Previous Thoroughbred equine benefit programs provided for a benefit of $1,500 per qualified horse. The May payment for qualified Thoroughbred horses will take approximately 2-3 weeks to process and should be deposited into horsepersons’ accounts after June 15th.

The aforementioned funds were already committed to the industry through the Funding Agreement for Live Horse Racing between Ontario Racing and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). All undistributed relief funds will be added to purse funds for live races moving forward.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Racing created task forces, as it did during the spring lockdown in 2020, to address the financial impacts to horse racing in Ontario.

Eligibility Requirements

An equine benefit payment in the amount of $1,700/horse is available for May providing the horse meets one of the following criteria requirements:


  • Horses on the grounds at Woodbine May 17, 2021 (Including 2-Year-Olds) *No Application Required.
  • Horses not stabled on the grounds but stabled in Ontario must have 2 published workouts between the dates of April 18 – May 23, 2021 (Application required).

Fort Erie

(Co-ordinated with Fort Erie Racetrack Operations)

  • Horses on the grounds at Fort Erie May 17, 2021 (Including 2-Year-Olds) *No Application Required.
    Horses not stabled on the grounds but stabled in Ontario must have 2 published workouts between the dates of April 18 – May 23, 2021 (Application required).

Horses that are Training in the U.S preparing to Return to Ontario

(Application required & payment made when all criteria are met)

  • Horses must have 2 published workouts between April 18 – May 23, 2021 in the U.S. Eligible horses must record a published workout or race in the province of Ontario by June 20, 2021.
  • Horses must be in the care of trainer who has been allotted stalls in province of Ontario.
  • Horses outside of Ontario must be training only and have not competed in races in other jurisdictions while outside of Ontario during the period (April 1, 2021 – May 23, 2021), unless specifically approved by Ontario Racing.

Application form:

The Thoroughbred Equine Benefit application for this payment can be found here (Application Form). The deadline to submit your application to Ontario Racing is June 2, 2021. All mailed applications must be postmarked by June 2, 2021 in order to be eligible. Please email or mail completed applications to:

Attn: Karen Allen – [email protected]
Ontario Racing Management
555 Rexdale Boulevard
Toronto, ON
M9W 5L2

Important Notes:

  • All payments received must be used for the care and maintenance of Thoroughbred horses.
  • Payment to be directly deposited into horsepersons’ accounts for those who are automatically approved; cheques to be issued upon request.
  • Horses that have transferred ownership for the 2021 racing season MUST provide a Bill of Sale to Woodbine or Fort Erie Race Offices
  • Once racing resumes in Ontario, horses who have received benefits under this program MUST make their first start at an Ontario Thoroughbred racetrack or record a published workout by June 20, 2021, unless otherwise approved by Ontario Racing.
  • Ontario Racing reserves the right to request additional information to ensure all criteria has been met. Those receiving benefits under the program could be subject to an audit by Ontario Racing. Failure to meet the criteria will result in all amounts being repaid to Ontario Racing.
  • All decisions are at the discretion of Ontario Racing and are ABSOLUTE and FINAL.
  • Horses are currently under the care of an AGCO licensed trainer at the time the application is submitted.