The Colt Stakes Committee has announced the proposed 2015 Colt Stakes racing program. The proposed program, which is dependent on anticipated state funding, will be presented at the annual Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions meeting in early January and will then require Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development approval.
This years’ proposed program is similar to last year’s, but with a few changes. There will once again be a Silver Series for Michigan sired three-year-olds as well as a Great Lakes Series open to Michigan sired, Michigan bred, and Michigan owned two-year-olds. Two-year-old MOBs will race in separate divisions from Michigan sired horses. Nomination/sustaining fees will be $500/$500 for Michigan sired and $600/$600 for Michigan owned or bred. Entry fees will be $165 per event. Estimated purses are expected to be between $7,500 and $8,000 with MOBs racing for half of the estimated two-year old purse, or any splits of that half that MOB entries require.
Current state funding limitations necessitate that at least 60 MOB horses nominate to the Great Lakes Series to guarantee their inclusion in the program. If nominations fall short of that number, it will not be economically feasible to move forward with the MOB divisions in 2015. Should it become necessary, the MHHA reserves the right to refund MOB nomination fees and convert the two-year-old program to Michigan sired only.
In an effort to address the challenge of a shrinking pool of horses eligible for state funding, the committee responsible for summer fair racing programs is currently working on a proposal to incorporate Michigan Bred horses into the Colt Stakes program in the future. Including Michigan Bred horses as fully funded participants would not only dramatically increase the number of horses racing at Michigan fairs, but also support the state’s breeding industry by encouraging breeding to in-state mares. The goal is to expand the program to fully fund Michigan breds by as early as 2016.
Nomination deadline for this year’s program is February 15, 2015. Nomination forms will be available by mid-January once the proposed program has been approved by the MDARD. All program announcements will be posted on the MHHA website (http://www.mhha-online.com).