Michael Burns Photo


OCT. 15, 2021

In the fall of 2019, Bernard McCormack took advantage of Ontario’s Mare Purchase Program to acquire Uncle Mo mare Aunty Mo at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

The mare, a $22,000 (USD) purchase, was in foal to Tourist and delivered a handsome colt in February 2020. In September the youngster was the fourth highest seller at the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale, hammered down for $120,000 to Al and Bill Ulwelling, helped along by his two-year-old full-sister Mo Touring’s first-out victory at Gulfstream Park in June.

“It’s a great program assisting our local breeders in retooling their broodmare band and bringing in some new blood,” said McCormack of the Mare Purchase Program, which provided him a 50 per cent (CAD) rebate on Aunty Mo’s initial purchase price. “The sales in Kentucky are full of mares that could do well in our program, and so when you are sent shopping with a de-escalator for cost of roughly 40 per cent, depending on the exchange rate, it pays a lot of initial bills with the new purchase.”

McCormack also took advantage of the program when he added Queen Martha, a $16,000 (USD) acquisition from the Fasig-Tipton Mixed Sale, to his broodmare program in February 2020. The mare’s English Channel colt sold for $30,000 (USD) this fall at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, less than one month before his three-year-old full-brother, British Royalty, won the Breeders’ Stakes.

“We had an outlay of $38,000 and we have those results, and they’re not results that we had to wait years and years for, they’re results that happened almost right away,” said McCormack, whose Cara Bloodstock currently houses six broodmares in Janetville, ON. “In terms of getting your money back, you get the cheque from the Mare Purchase Program, and then you get to breed them back — and breed them to an Ontario Sire, you can get a little dividend if you do that — and so everywhere you look it’s supporting the breeder.

“It’s a program that I have my clients look at closely and pay attention to, and I know it’s been hard to get across the border, but things are starting to open up so this opportunity might actually be a little bit more available, given that people can actually travel to the sales as the US border opens.”

For 2021-22 the Mare Purchase Program offers Ontario residents a 50 per cent rebate, to a maximum of $25,000 (CAD), on the purchase of any in-foal mare sold for a minimum of $10,000 at seven Ontario Racing recognised public auctions. The maximum benefit to any individual or entity is $75,000 CAD and, upon purchase, mares must meet the Ontario Resident Mare requirements.

In addition, the Mare Recruitment Program offers non-residents the opportunity to receive a $5,000 rebate for each mare brought to Ontario to foal in 2022, to a maximum of $25,000 (CAD). Mares must be new arrivals to the province, or have changed hands through a recognized public auction for a minimum purchase price of $5,000 (USD), and must meet the Ontario Resident Mare requirements.

Breeders who participate in either program are also eligible for a $2,500 (CAD) incentive for all enrolled mares who are then bred to a registered Ontario Sire in 2022.

Complete details and eligibility requirements for all three incentives are available on the Ontario Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) website.

“Two years ago we brought in 129 new in-foal mares to the province, of which 79 of them were bred back to Ontario sires. Ontario is one of, I think, three jurisdictions in North America where our live foals reported actually went up,” said Ontario Racing TIP committee member David Anderson. “So the program is working, and we’ve tweaked it a bit this year, increasing some of the caps, lowering the floor to allow more people to get in, making it easier for the local breeders. It’s the only one of its kind in North America and I would encourage all Ontario breeders to take advantage of it.”

For more information about Ontario’s TIP program please visit https://tip.ontarioracing.com/ or contact the program coordinator at tbprogram@ontarioracing.com.





Photo attached: Patrick Husbands guides British Royalty to victory in the Oct. 3 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack. The three-year-old gelding’s dam, Queen Martha, was purchased by Bernard McCormack’s Cara Bloodstock in February 2020 with support from Ontario’s Mare Purchase Program. (Michael Burns photo)