When I was a lad, we'd travel to small tracks to watch the Ontario Sires Stakes races, which were a highlight (some of the small tracks had purses of $600 back then for an average). $25,000 purses were occasionally seen, and the horses were much better than average. That all changed when slots came to the Province, where Gold Finals for $130k are the norm, and sires like Kadabra, Mach Three and Camluck replaced the Armbro Omaha's, Fundamentalist's and Dallas Almahurst's.
With slots gone, what will this years sales look like?
They'll likely be bad, but not horrible in my opinion, for a number of reasons.
-In 2013 the Ontario Sires Stakes will still be there, albeit purses will be likely lower. Instead of $130k, maybe it'll go for $70k, or $50k. Still better than other jurisdictions. That's speculation though.
-There is still hope that something can be done by 2013.
-High end sires in Ontario will still sell for big money, because horses by Kadabra (second in sales price in US sales for trotters last year to Donato), Mach Three (Beach's brother went for $430k last year), Camluck, Bettors Delight, Angus Hall, and a couple of others should be alright. Buyers don't shell big money for those horse's for sires stakes.
-New sires like Big Jim, and some middle of the road sires will likely take it on the chin pretty hard, really bringing down the average.
- Horses from small sires will probably be kept out of sales.
- Any restructuring of the condition sheets, and extra cash will likely go to breeding programs. For example, expect to see many more purses for Ontario sired only.
With that I think we won't see a bloodbath. In fact, if things were too bad and you had a nice Camluck going through the ring for a song I certainly would have my hand up.
However, as we've seen in Ontario, what is happening today might be different than what happens tomorrow. Stay tuned.
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