The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association said Aug. 26 it has approved the breeder bonus and the stallion owner bonus that elevate overall breeders' awards to their highest levels to date.
The FTBOA board of directors voted for a breeder awards bonus of 12% and stallion owner awards bonus of 15%. The board has been considering bonuses for about two years.
"This breeders' bonus will elevate overall breeders' awards paid (in 2013) to the highest percentage in our history, 17%, which exceeds the previous record percentage we were able to award in 2012," FTBOA president George Russell said in a release. "Additionally, our stallion owners will benefit from a new bonus program. Economic progress in these challenging times for our industry nationwide is not easy to achieve. We in Florida are fortunate to offer some of the top breeding and racing opportunities within one of the best environments in the country."
A breeders' bonus was implemented in 2012. It was followed by establishment of the $2.5 million Florida Sire Stakes series, now called the Florida Stallion Stakes.
FTBOA officials said the breeders' bonus was impact by head-to-head racing in 2013 as well as uncertainty regarding simulcast host-track revenue. With the recent agreement between Gulfstream Park and Calder Casino & Race Course, the board moved ahead with both bonuses.
Fred Brei, chairman of the FTBOA Racing and Stakes Committee, said that over the past 20 months no race at Gulfstream has been run without a Florida-bred or Florida Stallion Stakes supplement. He said Florida-breds make up 58.5% of the starters at Gulfstream and 59% of the winners.
"The ongoing uncertainty about racing dates and wagering estimates over the past few years has really made projecting possible awards more than challenging," Brei said. "We anticipate that situation improving under the new arrangement between Gulfstream and Calder and providing the (FTBOA) Racing and Stakes Committee with some much-needed consistency and stability that, on a go-forward basis, should give us the foundation to better project and plan for possible additional enhancements in the years to come."
The breeders' award bonus of 12% applies to recipients of Florida breeders' awards paid in the 2013 calendar year. The stallion owners' bonus of 15% applies to current FTBOA registered Florida stallions whose progeny won Florida breeders' awards in stakes in the 2013 calendar year.
The stallion must have been an FTBOA-registered stallion the year their progeny won the breeders' award and when it was conceived to receive the bonus. The FTBOA said registering a stallion in Florida as an FTBOA-registered stallion by Feb. 15 each year ensures that when bonuses are authorized, the horse meets the requirement to receive one.