Ontario Racing’s Standardbred Improvement Program Committee announced on Thursday (Sept. 22) a $720,000 total increase to the purses for the 2023 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Super Finals and Grassroots Championships and that purses will be raised for Prospect Series legs to $8,000.
All eight Gold Super Finals will have a purse of $300,000 in 2023, a boost of $75,000 and a 33 per cent increase from the $225,000 offered in 2022.
The purses of the eight Grassroots Championships are increasing by $15,000 to $75,000, a 25 per cent total increase of $120,000.
The Prospect Series legs are also receiving a significant boost, rising 25 per cent from $6,500 to $8,000.
Walter Parkinson, Standardbred Improvement Program Committee member and President of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association, is excited about the announcement of these increases with yearling sales beginning this weekend.
“The announcement of a purse increase for the 2023 Ontario Sires Stakes season is welcomed by the entire industry and continues to build upon an already great program,” said Parkinson. “Breeders, owners and trainers can feel confident that the Ontario Sires Stakes program will remain a North American leader, and with the continued success of Ontario Sired performers during the 2022 stakes season, Ontario Sired yearlings should be in high demand this fall, making for an exciting 2023 and beyond.”
Mark Etsell’s charges have earned $341,657 from 20 Ontario Sires Stakes starts this season and his star filly Adare Castle is looking to repeat as Gold Super Final champion in just under a month's time.
“An increase in purses for the finals is always appreciated,” said Etsell. “The purses for the Grassroots and the Prospect Series are a lot of money compared to some other jurisdictions, so to go for a good final on top of it is always good.”
A robust purse for the finals of the Ontario Sires Stakes allows trainers and owners to build their schedule around reaching that pinnacle.
“When you’re checking your schedule out for the year, you take that into consideration with how you stake them,” said Etsell. “It’s a big benefit to have a big purse close to home.”
The 2022 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championships and Gold Super Finals go on Oct. 1 and 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. All entrants in the Grassroots and Gold finales will receive a cheque.
The Prospect Finals are on Sept. 30 at The Raceway at the Western Fair District.
(With files from Ontario Racing)