Members of the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Committeevoted unanimously to set the purses for all eight Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) championships at $100,000. Ohio Sires Stakes are restricted to horses bred within the state. The races are scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Scioto Downs. They will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The committee took this action during a meeting at the racetrack on Wednesday.
At the beginning of 2012, the purse for each OSS championship was estimated at $75,000. All OSS purses are based entirely upon revenues from taxes on wagers made on live harness races and simulcasts at four harness racetracks, and the number of horses made eligible to OSS races.
The purse increases approved by the OSDF Committee are a direct result of an agreement between Scioto Downs and the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association to use a portion of the money generated from wagering at Video Lottery Terminalsat Scioto Downs since June. The money is currently held in escrow.
Scioto Downs also volunteered to increase the amount it was expected to contribute to the $800,000 in total purses from an estimated $78,330 to $86,330.
Harness horsemen at the meeting felt increased purses paid to current owners will stimulate sales of Ohio-bred horses.
Chairman Richard McClelland and committee members Kevin Greenfield and Dr. Robert Schwartz each expressed the opinion that this increase would signal to owners and breeders in Ohio and in neighboring states that harness racing here will regain the vigor it lost because of competition jurisdictions that already offered VLT wagering.
The increase in the amount of harness stallions and broodmares also suggests as much. For example, the OSDF registered 91 stallions for breeding in 2011. For 2012, before any revenue from VLT wagering was even available, stallion registrations increased 40 percent to 128 horses. (Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Committee)