OHIO BREEDING THRIVING AS VIRGINIA FLOUNDERS

While Ohio isn’t steeped in tradition or famous for the likes of Secretariat, Quality Roa, Bodemeister and a long list of graded stakes winners, they have over a long period produced Breeders Fund numbers to be envious of here in the Commonwealth. Multiple tracks and an extensive live racing calendar surely plays a large part in their growth and overall success.

Virginia is mired in a stalemate over racing days while the stakeholder continue to encounter political oposition to their attempts to grow handle, the purse and the Breeders Fund.

As VRC Vice Chairman D.G. Van Clief said recently in an interview with RacingBiz.com’s Nick Hahn, with the exception of an increase in ADW wagering, “There’s good and bad like most states.  In my mind there’s real reason for concern.  If you look at business indicators, in Virginia’s Thoroughbred and standardbred racing and breeding industries, they’re down across the board…”

Virginia’s foal crop from 2013 hit an all time low and there were fewer Virginia-bred winners in 2013 than in 2012 and the years prior.  Money won as well as annual starts per horse was also down.

Virginia’s Breeders Fund is currently valued at approximately $1.2 million with approximately $350,000 paid in Breeders Awards and from $180,000 yo $150,000 in stakes purses annually 

Here’s how the Buckey state stacks up for the purposes of comparison.

Ohio-Bred Program Gets Financial Boom

(Tom LaMarra/Blood-Horse)

Growth and new revenue for the Ohio Thoroughbred industry has led to projected increases in breeders’ awards and an expanded state-bred stakes schedule for 2014.

The Ohio State Racing Commission Jan. 23 approved the parameters of the Ohio Thoroughbred Race Fund for this year. The total budget is $3.25 million.

There will be 41 stakes for Ohio-registered or accredited horses, up from 33 in 2013. Total stakes purses–from the OTRF (35%) and horsemen’s purses (65%)–are listed at $2.7 million.

Purses for the five-race Best of Ohio championship series have been increased again. Each stakes will go for $150,000, up from $100,000 in 2013.

The Best of Ohio is scheduled for Oct. 11 and will be held at Belterra Park, formerly known as River Downs, near Cincinnati. The track hasn’t hosted the championship races since the mid-1990s.

Because the grass course at Belterra Park won’t be ready for the 2014 racing season, all the stakes are on the dirt. Belterra Park will have 16 stakes and ThistleDown Racino (Thistledown) will have 17. Beulah Park, which will close for good May 3, was assigned three stakes, while its replacement, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, will offer five stakes in November and December.

Any open stakes will be announced by the racetracks at a later date. In recent years there has been only one: the Ohio Derby at Thistledown, which lost its grade III status for 2014.

The OTRF projects a 74.2% increase in broodmare awards, from $432,975 in 2013 to $746,736 this year. Stallion awards are projected to jump 96.9% from $96,972 to $190,941.

State-bred supplements for overnight races will increase 11.2% to $770,706 from $692,600 in 2013. The OTRF also will increase its promotional budget to $50,000 from about $12,000.

Greg Veit, Thoroughbred fund registrar for the OSRC, said it appears there will be 59 stallions registered in Ohio for 2014, up about 25 from last year. “The quality is increasing dramatically,” he said, noting stallions such as Kettle Corn  , Lunar Pal, and Mobil   will stand in the state.

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