With four Thoroughbred racetracks scattered around the province, Alberta offers the most opportunities to race your horse in the country. The province’s various Thoroughbred breeding and racing programs also support breeders and owners at all levels of racing with financial incentives.
“The first baby we raised and sold in the Alberta-bred program was in 2017, and we’ve been getting breeding bonuses every year since,” says Amber Meyaard of Starline Thoroughbreds. “Since that means our horses are coming in the top three, it tells us we are breeding the right mare to the right stallion and raising horses that are competitive.”
Having bred a multiple stakes winner plus two sales stakes winners, both of which paid breeder bonuses, Meyaard appreciates Alberta’s incentive programs.
“We continue to get decent money for our babies at the sales, which encourages us to continue breeding.”
Here’s how you can benefit:
Breeders are eligible for $472,830 in bonuses for horses of all ages foaled in Alberta that place first through third in all sanctioned races in Alberta with a minimum $7,000 purse and a minimum $6,250 claiming price. The bonus will be paid after the conclusion of the Alberta racing season.
“I’ve been receiving Breeder’s Support for the last 10 years and it’s been great,” said Amber-Lynn Jacobson of Running Fawcett Thoroughbred. “The cost of breeding, raising and selling yearlings is quite high, so we look forward to the horses going to good trainers and receiving these bonuses to help offset the costs.”
Alberta offers $372,830 in bonuses to be paid to owners of horses of all ages foaled in Alberta placing first through third in all sanctioned races in Alberta with a minimum $7,000 purse and a minimum $6,250 claiming price.
Fall Classic Races
The hottest date on the Alberta racing calendar is the Fall Classic which was started in 1997 and is now run at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino. A celebration of the top Alberta-bred horses, the day of racing now offers over $350,000 in purse money over seven stakes races.
Alberta Sales Stakes
Alberta sale graduates have the opportunity to compete as two-year-olds, three-year-olds, and four-year-olds in the annual Alberta Sales Stakes, which offers three races with a total purse of $200,000.
“A few of our horses have run in the sales stakes,” said Jacobson, who bred the 2017 CTHS-Alberta sale topper. “The program really encourages people to buy Alberta-bred yearlings instead of going outside the province ‒ it’s a real boost for Alberta-breds and their breeders.”
In addition, Canadian-bred yearling graduates of CTHS provincial sales are eligible to run in the CTHS Canadian Sales Stakes which offers over $1 million in purse money.
Alberta-bred Restricted Races
New for this year, the HBPA is offering a series of Alberta-bred two- and three-year-old Maiden Special Weight races for the 2022 race season. Century Mile will write races for three-year-old colts/geldings and three-year-old fillies once a month with a purse of $35,000, with a minimum of six entries.
Alberta Sired Program
The HBPA of Alberta has announced an $120,000 Alberta Sired Program for the 2022 race season. Alberta Sired two-year-olds will receive a one-time bonus of $5,000 when they break their maiden at any level of racing at Century Mile in 2022. In addition, they are introducing $50,000 stakes races for three-year-old colts/geldings and three-year-old fillies who are Alberta Sired offspring, with a minimum of six entries.
A stallion bonus will be paid proportionately to stallion owners whose stallions have eligible Alberta Thoroughbred progeny with earnings of $10,000 or greater during the calendar year. Stallions must have stood in the province of Alberta for the entire calendar year of conception for each year’s crop to be eligible for the $65,000 pool of funds.
Community Stakes Races Purse & Owners’ Bonus
With a pot of $20,000, owners of horses of all ages foaled in Alberta placing first through third in Community Stakes Races worth $60,000, excluding Alberta-Bred Restricted races, will be paid a bonus of approximately 17%.
Mare Purchase Program
The Alberta HBPA has recently introduced a $100,000 Mare Purchase Program that reimburses 40% of the sale price to a maximum of $5,000 for mares purchased at a recognized auction outside of Alberta. The mare must foal in Alberta in 2022 and be bred to a Thoroughbred stallion standing in Alberta during the 2022 breeding season.
“I quit breeding a couple of years ago, but the new mare incentive program made me jump back into it,” said Jacobson, who purchased two mares from Keeneland’s January auction. “The program has helped me get the calibre of mare I want, which I wouldn’t have been able to afford without the program.
“The combination of all the programs really help to support my business and are a great way of supporting local Alberta breeders,” concluded Jacobson.
Alberta by the Numbers
- Breeders’ Support – $472,830
- Owners’ Support – $372,830
- Fall Classic Races – $350,000
- Alberta Sales Stakes – $200,000
- Alberta-Bred Restricted Races – $140,000
- Alberta Sired Program – $120,000
- Mare Purchase Program – $100,00
- Stallion Support – $65,000
- Community Racing Owner Bonus & Purses – $80,000
Total Racing and Breeding Incentives = $1,900,660