by Megan Arszman, Communications Coordinator, Indiana Horse Racing Commission
Indianapolis, IN — With the 2018 race meet starting to wrap up at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, the Indiana Standardbred Breed Development Advisory Committee, Indiana Standardbred Advisory Board and interested horsemen met on Oct. 10 to look ahead to 2019.
At the top of everyone’s list for 2019 was to look at the signature Indiana Sires Stakes program and how to make improvements to this already lucrative series. Attendees discussed the current structure and agreed it was no longer meeting the needs of program participants.
After much discussion, the Breed Development Advisory Committee approved a modification to the structure of the Indiana Sires Stakes program for 2019. Members of the Standardbred Advisory Board present also supported this modification. The new structure will be included in the Breed Development’s annual recommendation to the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, and will feature:
- Six legs for 2-year-olds leading up to a $250,000 Super Final
- Eight legs for 3-year-olds leading up to a $250,000 Super Final
- Super Final participants finishing sixth through tenth will receive a $4,000 purse payout each for earning their way into the Super Finals
The revamped Sire Stakes program is estimated to pay out $8.5 million in purses during 2019, in comparison to $7.8 million distributed during 2018. When combined with additional opportunities for Indiana Sired and/or Bred horses, such as Late Closers, Indiana Sired Overnights, Fair Stakes and the Mini Series, the 2019 Standardbred Breed Development Program will offer more than $13.6 million in purses and incentives for program participants.
“At the end of the day, this has a lot of upside,” says horseman and committee member Joe Putnam.
“The board knew that something needed to change to help our breeders and horsemen participating in the Indiana Sire Stakes program,” says Jessica Barnes, Director of Racing and Breed Development for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. “The discussion was very helpful, and we appreciated hearing from the horsemen in attendance. We are excited to see how these proposed changes will help the program continue to flourish in the coming years.”
The 2018 edition of the Indiana Sire Stakes Super Finals night commences Friday (Oct. 12) at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, with the state’s top bred Standardbreds competing for more than $2 million in purses.
For more information on the Indiana Sire Stakes or harness racing in Indiana, reach out to the IHRC at 317.232.2897 or by emailing Standardbred@hrc.in.gov.