Building on the success of the California-bred Maiden Bonus Program, the recently announced Golden State Series is already being credited with fueling higher yearling sales prices 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 Cal-bred son of Unusual Heat for $100,000 at the Barretts October Yearling Sale.
The opening select night session at Barretts yielded a 44 percent 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 percent.
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, a Kentucky Derby winner by Holy Bull standing at Magali Farms; Aragorn, a son of Giant’s Causeway 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 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 multiple graded winner by Tiznow standing at Ridgeley Farm.
The 2012 Golden State Series encompasses new stakes and purse enhancements to existing stakes totaling $2.325 million that will be jointly funded by the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Marketing Committee and through nominations of 2-year-olds in 2012.
For foals of 2010, a $300 eligibility payment must be made by February 15. Foals not made eligible by that date 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.
To encourage and reward 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.
Initially, the incentive programs are designed to significantly boost purses and the number of races available for 2- and 3-year-olds to continue the quick return to owners and breeders. Over time, and with success, the goal is to expand the purses and opportunities for older horses as well. Purses for the new 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.
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 huge financial return that has increased the value of Cal-breds and provided breeders additional incentive to breed. Combining the two programs will make it so people can’t afford not to race Cal-breds.