Ninety-one new mares will foal in Ontario in 2022 and $1 million will be distributed to Ontario breeders thanks to Ontario Racing’s Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) Committee enhancing its Mare Purchase and Recruitment Programs for the 2021-22 sales season.

Focusing on the Mare Purchase Program (MPP), the TIP Committee increased the maximum credit available from $50,000 to $75,000 CAD, lowered the minimum purchase from $15,000 USD to $10,000 (USD), and removed the $100,000 maximum purchase price restriction.

“We made changes to the Mare Programs to make them less restrictive, but never in our wildest dreams did we think all the funding would be exhausted,” said David Anderson, Breeder Representative on the Ontario Racing Board, and TIP Committee Member. “The result is we are a leading jurisdiction worldwide in the terms of the percentage increase of Ontario bred foals.”

The MPP has 42 mares from 31 breeders enrolled in the program. Thirty-one of these mares are to be bred back to an Ontario Stallion. The Mare Recruitment Program has 49 mares enrolled from 33 mare owners/purchasers and 19 mares are to be bred back to an Ontario Stallion.

Breeder Arika Everatt-Meeuse, of Shannondoe Farms, took part in the MPP thanks to the changes.

“David and the TIP Committee have done a great job to open it up,” said Everatt-Meeuse. “Now it can be accessed by more people, and really allows people to reach out and buy a better mare.”

The St. Thomas, Ont., breeder purchased four mares at the November and January Keeneland Sales. That’s four more than she would have without these programs.

“I would not have gone shopping without it. It just would not have fit in my budget,” said Everatt-Meeuse. “Stud fees and everything are going up. But with the support from the program, I was able to make it work.”

Everatt-Meeuse received over $64,000 through the MPP and wants Ontario breeders to know how advantageous the program is.

“When you’re bidding, it allows you to think differently,” said Everatt-Meeuse. “If your budget is $6,000, and you see something you like at $10,000, that’s actually within your budget. It can help breeders at all levels, that’s what makes it a great program.”

It was case in point at the January Keeneland Sale. Evertatt-Meeuse’s 11-year-old son, Brayden, who is learning the business, had picked out HIP 820, Unforgiving, for her to bid on.

“He’d found one that had some upside, and her sire was Giant Causeway. We set a budget of $20,000 dollars. When it hit $20,000, I looked over at him, and he looked a little upset,” said Everatt-Meeuse. “But I bid once more, got it for $25,000, and he was so excited.”

When asked by her son afterwards why she went over budget, Everatt-Meeuse explained that thanks to the purchase credits from the MPP a purchase price of $25,000 was still within their budget.

“I told him that because of the program it was only going to be $15,000, and he asked me ‘who do I thank’. I told him next time you see Mr. Anderson, you can thank him!”

For details on all the programs available to Ontario Thoroughbred horsepeople, visit the TIP website.