Golden State Series Nominations Due Feb. 15

Owners of Cal-bred foals of 2010 can take part in new stakes program with $300 fee.

Owners of California-bred foals of 2010 have until Feb. 15 to pay a $300 fee for eligibility in the new Golden State Series, a program of stakes and purse enhancements totaling more than $2.3 million in its initial year.

The series, aimed at bolstering breeding and sales of state-breds, is being funded by the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Marketing Committee, and through nomination fees of 2-year-olds in 2012.

Foals not enrolled by Feb. 15 can become eligible with payment of a one-time supplemental fee of $25,000. Foals of 2009 and earlier will be grandfathered into the program with no eligibility payment, according to a press release from the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

Initially, the 2012 Golden State Series is designed to significantly boost purses and the number of races available for 2- and 3-year-olds for quick return to owners and breeders. With success, the goal is to expand the purses and opportunities for older horses as well.

Purses for the stakes series range from $100,000 to $300,000 with races at all major California tracks, including the addition of two turf races in Northern California, according to the CTBA. To encourage participation, purse money will be distributed through sixth place in races with purses between $100,000-$150,000 and through eighth place in races with purses of $200,000-$300,000.

The Golden State Series follows by two years implementation of the Cal-bred Maiden Bonus Program, which rewards the owner of a horse bred or sired in California with a financial return aimed at increasing the value of Cal-breds and providing additional incentive to breed.

The two programs have been credited with fueling higher yearling sales prices this fall and attracting promising stallions to the state.

“With the California incentive program changes, it’s time to start getting some Cal-breds and supporting Cal-breds,” said Joe Masino, manager of Class Racing Stable, after he purchased a state-bred son of Unusual Heat for $100,000 at the Barretts October yearling sale.

The opening select night session at Barretts yielded a 44% increase in average with the median doubling last year’s first session. At the conclusion of the second day, the sale that predominantly consists of Cal-breds had an overall average increase of nearly 20%.

Meanwhile, the state’s stallion roster has been upgraded since the Golden State Series was announced in late September. Among the newcomers for the 2012 breeding season are three sires relocating to California: Heatseeker, a grade I record-setting son of Giant's Causeway  standing at Harris Farms; Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner by Holy Bull standing at Magali Farms; Aragorn, a grade I-winning son of Giant’s Causeway with earnings of over $1.5 million standing at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds; and Rocky Bar, a son of In Excess standing at EA Ranches.

Among sires standing for the first time: Noble Court, a multiple graded winner by Doneraile Court standing at Magali Farms; Bold Chieftain, a millionaire by Chief Seattle standing at Victory Rose Thoroughbreds; Calimonco , a son of Storm Cat and full brother of champion Sweet Catomine standing at Ballena Vista Farm; Sierra Sunset, a grade II-winning son of Bertrando standing at Rancho San Miguel; Slew's Tiznow , a multiple stakes winner by Tiznow  standing at Rancho San Miguel; and Informed, a second multiple graded winner by Tiznow standing at Ridgeley Farm.