The Virginia Harness Horse Association (VHHA) is excited to introduce a new Virginia Sired Stakes program starting with the 2022 breeding season, for foals of 2023. The new initiative will help complement Association initiatives like Breeder’s Fund Races, a new Certified Residency program, and an increased 2022 racing schedule at Shenandoah Downs, all in an effort to keep standardbred racing in the Commonwealth moving forward.
The Sired Stakes program will offer bonus payments for foals that meet qualifying times and dates as outlined in the rules, which are available at vhha.net. Both the stallion owner and breeder will receive $1,500, and if the mare and foal remain in Virginia for the entire foaling year, the mare owner will receive an additional $1,500. The paid in fee schedule would be $25 as a yearling and $100 each in March, May and the starting fee as a two-year-old and three-year-old.
Sired Stake races will be run based on age, sex and gait as two and three-year-olds. Elimination races will feature a $6,000 purse and finals will go for $60,000. Sired foals are also eligible to compete in the Breeder’s Fund races during the same years. Those races feature $8,000 eliminations and $80,000 finals. When combined, sired foals can race for $154,000 plus added money as freshmen and sophomores.
A total of 11 stallions will stand in Virginia for the upcoming breeding season — Artzina, Gregory Pecs, Journeyman, Kandy Korn, Mr. Julian, Secular, Shibboleth Hanover, Snow King, Strong Player, Winning Fireworks and Yankee Royalty.
At the recent Shenandoah Downs fall meet in Woodstock, purses for Virginia Breeder’s elimination races and finals went from $4,000 and $40,000 respectively, to $8,000 and $80,000. The 25th running of the Virginia Breeder’s Championship Series is scheduled for October, 2022.
The lucrative residency program, which began with the 2019 foaling year, saw the first crop in that initiative begin competing in 2021. And it is expected the Shenandoah Downs season, which has been five weeks in length since its 2016 inception, could expand to as many as eight weeks in 2022, pending Virginia Racing Commission approval.
For details on bringing a stallion to Virginia, booking your mare’s 2022 breeding season, or any of the incentive programs, visit www.vhha.net or contact Debbie Warnick at 443-463-0917.