The horseracing industry in the United States has been under pressure in recent years as handle, purses, and foal crops decrease. There is a huge silver lining to this dark cloud, however, in that racing and breeding in the state of New York is stronger than itís ever been.
The purse examples shown below have formally been announced for the Aqueduct Winter/Spring meet. Although nothing has been announced beyond that meet, conventional wisdom states that there is a reasonable expectation that purses will be even higher for the Belmont Spring/Summer meet and even higher for the Saratoga meet as has been the case historically. For examples of the Aqueduct Winter/Spring meet purses see below:
|New York-bred Races|
|Maiden Special Weight||$55,000|
|Open Company Races|
|Maiden Special Weight||$60,000|
New York-bred horses are horses that are foaled in the state of New York and meet certain criteria for being a registered New York-bred. As a registered New York-bred a horse will be eligible to compete in races restricted to New York-breds. In 2014 in New York there were over 800 races written for restricted New York-breds worth over $44.5 million in purses. Unlike open company where horses can ship in from anywhere in the world to compete for the purse, restricted races, by their very name, are restricted to only a certain group of horses and the universe of potential competitors is vastly smaller. Despite the fact that the races are much easier to win the purses are extremely lucrative. Furthermore, there is an entire stakes program designed for and restricted specifically to New York-breds presenting even more opportunities for a horse to earn purse money and for owners to realize the thrill of racing in stakes races.
Another important caveat that needs to be considered is the way that NYRA writes its Allowance conditions. NYRA writes a New York-bred Maiden Special Weight, a New York-bred N1X, and a New York-bred N2X. It also writes an open company Maiden Special Weight, open company N1X, N2X, N3X, etc. Whatís significant is that all restricted wins, including those in New York-bred races, do not count against open company Allowance conditions. Put another way, a New York-bred can win the New York-bred Maiden Special Weight, the New York-bred N1X, and the New York-bred N2X and then still be eligible for the open company N1X, N2X, etc. Any open company horse does not have this luxury and must move into the open company N1X immediately after its maiden win. Any New York-bred horse that has the ability to get through the New York-bred N2X should have well in excess of $100,000 in purse money banked BEFORE it sees open company N1X competition. This is another gigantic benefit in running New York-breds in New York.
There are over 67 stakes races with total purses exceeding $8.5 million scheduled annually by the New York Racing Association and Finger Lakes Racing Association exclusively for registered New York-breds. In addition to the multitude of regular New York-bred stakes races Finger Lakes Racing Association annually conducts the Aspirant Stakes for 2-year-old New York-breds, the Lady Fingers Stakes for 2-year-old New York-bred fillies, and the New York Breeders Futurity Stakes for 2-year-old New York-breds. These races are run annually in the early fall and present a great opportunity for horses fortunate enough to be ready early in their 2-year-old season to earn some lucrative purses and add stakes success to their pedigrees. Last year the Aspirant had a purse of $127,063, the Lady Fingers a purse of $141,675 and the New York Breeders Futurity a purse of $252,098.
For 3-year-old New York-breds the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Organization conducts the Big Apple Triple series of races. The Big Apple Triple consists of three races, restricted to 3-year-old New York-Breds, run over three different tracks from June to August. The Mike Lee Stakes ($125,000) is run in late May at Belmont Park going 7 furlongs. The New York Derby ($150,000) is run in mid-July at Finger Lakes going 1 1/16 miles. The Albany ($150,000) is run in late August at Saratoga going 1 1/8 miles.
Another interesting series of stakes races is the New York Stallion Stakes Series. This series consists of ten races with purses totaling over $1,000,000 run throughout the year with divisions for 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 3-year-olds and up run from 6 furlongs to 1 mile on both dirt and turf. Not only is this series of stakes races restricted to New York-breds, itís further restricted to horses sired by nominated New York-standing stallions. New York-breds sired by out-of-state stallions are not eligible for these races. In essence these stakes races are ďdouble-restrictedĒ and horses that are eligible have the benefit of competing against a very small universe of competitors and present a great opportunity for the horse to have a reasonable chance to earn great purses and add black type to its resume.
In addition, three times each year, in May, August, and October, the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and NYRA conduct New York Showcase Days. Each New York Showcase Day is a card of stakes races exclusively for registered New York-breds designed to showcase New Yorkís best state-bred runners. In May The Big Apple New York Showcase Day consists of 6 races with purses totaling $900,000. In August The Saratoga New York Showcase Day consists of 6 races with purses totaling $1,500,000. In October The Empire New York Showcase Day consists of 8 races with purses totaling $1,750,000.
These stakes series and events are all in addition to the regular palate of overnight stakes races for New York-breds carded at the various New York tracks throughout the year.
One little known yet very significant bonus thatís available to New York-breds is the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Corporationís Open Owner Award. This incentive is for owners of New York-breds that race in open company races in New York. Open Owner Awards are 20% of the amount won (first through third place) for New York-sired New York-breds in all open company races run on a New York track with a minimum claiming price of $30,000 through stakes races, with a cap of $20,000 per horse. Open Owner Awards in the same open company races for non-New York-sired New York-breds are 10% for those horses finishing first through third with a cap of $20,000 per horse. What this means in simple terms is that, using the purse structure outlined above, a New York-bred sired by a stallion that stands in New York thatís racing in an open company N1X Allowance route will be racing for an effective purse of $80,400 where all other horses will be racing for the stated purse of $67,000. This is a very lucrative added bonus for owners of New York-breds that are talented enough to run through their state-bred conditions and compete in open company.
Since NYRA announced its 36% purse increase on September 24 average sale prices of New York-bred weanlings and yearlings at the fall sales has been nothing short of spectacular.
|Fasig-Tipton Saratoga NY-Bred Preferred Sale - Average Sale Price|
|$39,106||$54,238 (+39%)||$62,551 (+15%)||$72,480 (+16%)||$80,108 (+11%)|
Lucrative incentives also exist on the breeding side of the game. A New York breeder is the owner of a mare that foals in the State of New York. The foal is considered a New York-bred and once the foal begins to race the breeder is eligible for Breeder Awards. Breeder Awards for New York-sired New York-breds are 30% for first-place finishes and 15% for second and third place finishes with a $40,000 cap per award. Breeder Awards for non-New York-sired New York-breds is 15% for first-place finishes and 7.5% for second and third place finishes with a $20,000 cap per award. As an example, a New York breeder whose mare foaled an offspring sired by a New York-based stallion that wins a Maiden Special Weight will receive a Breeder Award of $16,500.
As an interesting example, letís look at a hypothetical person who bred a New York-bred foal from a New York-based stallion and decided to keep and race the foal. Letís assume that this foal were talented enough to run through its state-bred conditions and were to now run in an open company N1X Allowance race run in New York. That owner/breeder would be running for an effective purse of $100,500. The base purse of $67,000 would be supplemented by a 20% Open Owner Award ($13,400) and a 30% Breeder Award ($20,100).
In 2014 in New York there were over 800 races written for restricted New York-breds worth over $44.5 million in purses.
There are over 67 stakes races with total purses exceeding $8.5 million scheduled annually by the New York Racing Association and Finger Lakes Racing Association exclusively for registered New York-breds.
For 3-year-old New York-breds the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Organization conducts the Big Apple Triple series of races. The Big Apple Triple consists of three races, restricted to 3-year-old New York-Breds, run over three different tracks from June to August.