Picking the perfect spot to run your horse can be a tricky task. However, if you purchased a horse at the CTHS yearling sale in Ontario or another province, there’s a good chance it won’t be so difficult.
The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) offers sales stakes at various Canadian tracks, including Assiniboia Downs, Century Mile, Hastings, and Woodbine, for horses purchased through a CTHS sanctioned sale. As of 2018, any Canadian-bred graduates of a CTHS provincial sale are eligible to run in a sales stakes across Canada.
Sales stakes are restricted to Canadian-breds, and the stakes offered can vary depending on the province.
Manitoba CTHS Sales Stakes: August 15 at Assiniboia Downs
On August 15, the first sales stakes of the season will be run at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This year, the sales stakes is for two-year-olds going six furlongs for $35,000.
In 2021, Lucky Chuckee won this sales stakes for his owners, Shelley Brown, Larry Falloon, and Anne Champion. Given the purse split, the winner brought home $21,000 for his owners that day. Second and third-place finishers received $7,000 and $3,500, respectively. The remainder of the purse ($1,750) went to the fourth-place finisher.
Lucky Chuckee’s trainer, Shelley Brown, is quick to offer her two cents on the value of these sales stakes offerings.
“I think it gives the buyers an incentive. Buyers have the opportunity to have a race that is restricted to only horses that have gone through the sale ring, so it gives you an added stakes where it’s restricted. There are usually only 30-35 horses in our sales, so it’s very limited in number. Especially as two-year-olds, not all horses are mature enough to run, so generally you can get a pretty light field with a limited amount of competition. You are not competing against horses from Kentucky and Florida and all that.”
Lucky Chuckee was consigned to the 2020 Manitoba CTHS sale by Larry Falloon, who is a part-owner alongside Brown and Champion.
Other Manitoba-breds that have gone through the sale and won sales stakes include graded stakes winner Escape Clause. In 2015, the daughter of Going Commando was purchased by Barry Arnason for under $4,000 at the Manitoba sale. A year later, she broke her maiden in the sales stakes for two-year-olds. In 2017, Escape Clause also won a sales stake at Century Downs. The sales stakes victories may be a drop in the bucket compared to some of Escape Clause’s other feats, but they still padded her resumé and purse earnings in the early stages of her storied career.
In 2017, Hidden Grace, another daughter of Going Commando, was purchased by Cam Ziprick at the Manitoba sale (for under $12,000) and went on to secure a sales stake at Assiniboia (2018), Century Downs (2019) and Century Mile (2020).
Possible prospects for next year’s sales stakes will be on show at the Manitoba Yearling Sale scheduled for Sunday, August 21 at the Red River Exhibition Grounds.
Ontario Sales Stakes: August 28 at Woodbine Racetrack
In Ontario, four sales stakes are on this year’s racing calendar, including the Muskoka Stakes for two-year-old fillies going six 1/2 furlongs and the Simcoe Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings going six 1/2 furlongs. Both races are worth $200,000. The Elgin Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings stretches out to seven furlongs, as does the Algoma Stakes for three-year-old fillies and mares. Both races carry a $100,000 purse.
Windina, Lady Cornwall, A Gal For Gordo, French King, Bolulight, Platinum Paws. Do any of these names ring a bell?
They are all previous winners from the first editions of different sales stakes dating back to the early 1950s (such as Windina, winner of the yearling sales stakes in 1953). As a side note, back in the day there were two more stakes divisions including the Halton and the Kenora stakes.
Last year, Ironstone secured a win in the Simcoe Stakes. Purchased at the 2020 CTHS sale for $5,365, Ironstone broke his maiden in the Simcoe before winning the Clarendon Stakes. Not surprisingly, his trainer, Willie Armata, is pretty adamant about the benefits of sales stakes.
“It’s great value to buy a horse out of the yearling sale. The yearling sales stake is good because you’ve got an opportunity, and you don’t have to run with other two-year-olds that haven’t been through the sale. It gives your baby that you bought in the sale a good opportunity to be an Ironstone.”
Since his win in the Simcoe, Ironstone has run and placed in a handful of stakes, including a runner-up finish in last year’s Grade 3 Grey Stakes.
Last year, Lorena won the Algoma Stakes. The daughter of Souper Speedy was purchased by Brent and Russell McLellan and Stuart Simon for $37,580 at the 2019 CTHS sale. Simon, who also trains Lorena, notes the importance of these races.
“Oh yeah, it’s definitely an incentive when you go there and buy a yearling. It gives you incentive to want to go buy a yearling, and you know you have that one nice restricted spot where you can get a nice chunk of change back in one start.”
Given the breakdown of the purse structure, Lorena banked $60,000 from her win in last year’s Algoma Stakes ‒ earning double what she was purchased for at the sale.
Several years before Lorena captured the Algoma, Simon won the $200,000 Muskoka Stakes with Summer Sunday (2017). “A while back, she won it as a two-year-old also. It was a nice race to win and a good stepping-stone to move onto other things.”
The next crop of youngsters that might steal the stakes spotlight in years to come will be available for purchase at the Ontario CTHS yearling sale scheduled for August 31 at Woodbine’s Sales Pavilion.
British Columbia Sales Stakes: August 22 at Hastings Racecourse
On August 22, four sales stakes will run at Hastings Racecourse.
A pair of sales stakes will include a race for three- and four-year-old colts, as well as one for three- and four-year-old fillies and mares. The other two sales stakes include a race for two-year-old colts and geldings and a race for two-year-old fillies. The purse for each race is $50,000.
In recent years, Infinite Patience has dominated the sales stake scene at Hastings and Century Mile. Trained by Barbara Anderson-Heads, the filly secured the 2019 two-year-old Sales Stakes at Hastings. In 2021, she added another sales stakes win at the BC track to her resumé. Last fall, she also won a sales stakes at Century Mile. Bred by William DeCoursey, Infinite Patience went through the British Columbia sale, but was an RNA (reserved not attained) at $27, 270. Her breeder, DeCoursey, owns the filly in partnership with R.N.H Stable.
From her trainer’s perspective, there is good value to be realized in running in the sales stakes.
“It’s definitely an encouragement. It gives you another race to run a two-year-old, and because they changed it to make it for three- and four-year-olds as well, adds so much more value, because you are getting more years. It also encourages the buyers that they do have extra races to run in, and because it is a restricted race, sometimes it is an easier race.”
Buyers looking to find the next star for their stable can head to the BC CTHS sale on September 8 at Thunderbird Show Park.
Alberta Sales Stakes: October 8 at Century Mile
On October 8, there will be three races offered for CTHS sales grads, including a three- and four-year-old race for fillies and another for colts and geldings. Both those races carry a purse of $50,000. Additionally, there is a sales stakes race for two-year-olds offering a $100,000 purse. All three of those races will be contested at a distance of seven furlongs.
Prospective buyers looking to find a horse for future sales stakes should note that Alberta’s yearling sale is scheduled for September 16 at Westerner Park.
*Please note, owners must pay nomination, entry, and start fees to meet the eligibility requirements to run in an out-of-province sales stakes. More details on sale stakes fees and eligibility can be found on the CTHS website here.
2022 CTHS SALES STAKES SERIES:
Manitoba – Assiniboia Downs
August 15: Two-year-olds, six furlongs – $35,000
British Columbia – Hastings Racecourse
August 22: Two-year-old colts and geldings – $50,000
August 22: Two-year-old fillies – $50,000
August 22: Three & four-year-old colts and geldings – $50,000
August 22: Three & four-year-old fillies and mares – $50,000
Ontario – Woodbine Racetrack
August 28: Muskoka Stakes: two-year-old fillies, six and a half furlongs – $200,000
August 28: Simcoe Stakes: two-year-old colts and geldings, six and a half furlongs – $200,000
August 28: Elgin Stakes: three-year-old colts and geldings, seven furlongs – $100,000
August 28: Algoma Stakes: three-year-old fillies, seven furlongs – $100,000
Alberta – Century Mile
October 8: Two-year-olds (colts, geldings & fillies), seven furlongs- $100,000
October 8: Three and four-year-old race for fillies and mares, seven furlongs- $50,0000
October 8: Three & four-year-old race for colts and geldings, seven furlongs – $50,000