When Forest Survivor stormed to victory in the $80,000 Lake Huron Stakes at Woodbine on August 7 it immediately put significant black-type under the chestnut colt’s dam, Bear’s Kitty Kitty. And that is precisely the goal of Ontario Racing’s new Ontario Sire Heritage Series, the eight-leg stakes program at Woodbine and Fort Erie open to Ontario Sired 3-year-olds.
The Thoroughbred Improvement Program Committee of Ontario Racing created the $750,000 series, including bonuses for the top three point-earning horses in the colts and fillies division, in order to showcase the provincial breeding program.
Forest Survivor, a son of Old Forester, is the first foal of six-time winner Bear’s Kitty Kitty. He was purchased for $13,000 at the 2019 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s Ontario yearling sale from breeder John Carey. Having her first foal be a successful black type winner is sure to increase the value of future yearlings from this mare.
“The series was created because there were few opportunities for breeders and owners of Ontario sired horses in Ontario stakes races, in particular three-year-olds,” said David Anderson, whose Anderson Farms in St. Thomas is one of the most successful breeding operations on the continent. “The Ontario sire stakes program has been decimated in the last 10 years and it has affected racing, the sales and ultimately breeders and stallion owners. We need to reverse that trend.”
On the same day Forest Survivor won the five-furlong Lake Huron on turf, the first stakes event of the series, Artful Ballerina won the Georgian Bay Stakes, also worth $80,000. Owned and bred by William A. Sorokolit and Vandyk Sunny Stables, Artful Ballerina collected $48,000 for the win in the five furlong dash on grass. Both Forest Survivor and Artful Ballerina earned 10 points for their wins while the horses behind them earned points on a 7, 5, 3, 2, 1 (for sixth-place to last) basis.
For the dam of Artful Ballerina, Artful Dancer, having a stakes winning offspring appear under her name on the catalogue page can mean some extra dollars for the breeder.
“When you go to our Ontario yearling sale, it’s mostly all the same mares with just another offspring in the sale and no black-type,” said Anderson. “With the Ontario Heritage Series we are creating black-type for three horses in each of the eight stakes races.”
The second round of the series was held at Fort Erie on Sept. 14 and the victory by Norseman Racing Stables’ Red Equinox in the $80,000 Rondeau Bay Stakes at six furlongs on the dirt was significant for many. Trainer Jamie Attard was saddling his first stakes winner, the stallion Signature Red was getting his sixth stakes winner, and the mare Majestic Red earned some black-type.
In the colt’s division on Sept. 14, Red River Rebel won the Lake Erie Stakes for owners Denny Andrews and Sherry McLean’s Northern Dawn Stables and trainer Kevin Attard. The son of Reload is out of the Spaniard mare Spani Lou.
“This race series is not a new model,” said Anderson, who is on the board of Ontario Racing. “It has been perfected by the Standardbred industry through its Gold Series and Gold Final which has made Woodbine Mohawk Park the number one breeding and racing destination in North America for Sires Stakes.”
There is one more $80,000 leg in the series, seven furlongs on the E.P. Taylor turf course Oct. 22 at Woodbine, followed by a $100,000 final at 1-1/16 miles on Tapeta for each division on November 19 (see schedule below).
Point Leaders after two Races
Sunsprite – 12
Artful Ballerina – 10
Red Equinox – 10
Benny’s Button – 8
Forest Survivor – 12
Red River Rebel – 10
Galvaston – 7
Blind Trust – 7
Ontario Heritage Series Race Schedule
$80,000 – Georgian Bay Stakes – August 7, 2021 – Five Furlongs (Woodbine Inner Turf Course) – Artful Ballerina
$80,000 – Rondeau Bay Stakes – September 14, 2021 – Six Furlongs (Fort Erie Main Track) – Red Equinox
$80,000 – Thunder Bay Stakes – October 22, 2021 – Seven Furlongs (Woodbine E.P. Taylor Turf Course)
$100,000 – Ashbridges Bay Stakes – November 19, 2021 – One Mile & One Sixteenth (Woodbine Tapeta)
Three-Year-Old Colts & Geldings
$80,000 – Lake Huron Stakes – August 7, 2021 – Five Furlongs (Woodbine Inner Turf Course) – Forest Survivor
$80,000 – Lake Erie Stakes – September 14, 2021 – Six Furlongs (Fort Erie Main Track) – Red River Rebel
$80,000 – Lake Superior Stakes – October 22, 2021 – Seven Furlongs (Woodbine E.P. Taylor Turf Course)
$100,000 – Lake Ontario Stakes – November 19, 2021 – One Mile & One Sixteenth (Woodbine Tapeta)
ONTARIO SIRE HERITAGE STAKES SERIES POINTS STRUCTURE (FOR BONUS AWARDS ONLY)
- Horses are not required to start in all four legs to be eligible.
- Point System: 10 points – 1st, 7 points – 2nd, 5 points – 3rd, 3 points – 4th, 2 points – 5th, 1 point – all remaining finishers. (Points will be prorated in the event of a dead heat).
- Bonus points are revocable in the event of a disqualification.
- Series bonus awards will be prorated in the event of a tie in points.
- Series bonus awards are revocable in the event of a disqualification.
- Points are awarded to the individual horse
BREAKDOWN OF BONUSES ($70,000) FOR MOST POINTS ACCUMULATED THROUGHOUT SERIES
For Each Division
1ST PLACE – $20,000
2ND PLACE – $10,000
3RD PLACE – $5,000
TOTAL – $35,000
Bonus will be paid to the winning owner of record (for the top three horses that accumulate the most points throughout the series) on November 19, 2021.