20 October 2015, Aurora, Colorado ~ As of September 2015, the United States has been officially accepted into the Heritage Arabian Horse Club (HARC), providing $20,000 of annual added money to Arabian racehorses which carry specific minority strains of blood, with the idea of encouraging a more diverse gene pool for the long-term health of the sport worldwide. In addition, it will provide support for promotion and administration of the program.
In total, ten countries have been approved as founding members to receive the added money around the world, totaling $275,000: Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Poland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, UAE and Russia.
Initiated by HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the urgency came when it was determined that the majority of the world’s bloodlines in Arabian racing were largely dominated by just six stallions: Amer, Baround III, Burning Sand, Dragon, St Laurent, and Tiwaiq. Concerns about a more diverse gene pool, as well as preservation for “heritage” strains that otherwise would not be competitive against these other bloodlines led him to create this added money program.
USA voting member Evie Tubbs Sweeney, who is a 15-year marketing veteran in the Arabian breed, sees tremendous potential in helping the sport grow in America.
“I believe there is a huge opportunity to incentivize existing Arabian horse breeding programs in the show world to try Arabian racing,” she said, “particularly with help like the HARC added money program, while also encouraging existing Arabian racing owners of lines outside these dominant ones to not give up and leave the sport.”
However, concerns have arisen about a perception of exclusion within the Arabian racing community.
“It’s important to emphasize that the HARC added money program does not, in any way, limit the opportunity of any bloodlines to race in any race in America,” said Tubbs Sweeney. “It is simply meant to encourage existing breeders of bloodlines outside the predominant lines, as well as new breeders/owners in the sport. It is exactly that: a breeders incentive program.”
The added money will be divided up between the five major Arabian racing state affiliates ($4,000 to each affiliate) in 2016: Delaware, Michigan, Colorado, Texas and California. Tubbs Sweeney will work with each affiliate to identify one race during its respected race meets that can be promoted as a race with HARC added money. The payouts will be as follows:
– $1,000 to the breeder AND owner of the first place HARC-eligible horse
– $600 to the breeder AND owner of the second place HARC-eligible horse
– $400 to the breeder AND owner of the third place HARC-eligible horse
And while other countries are holding races strictly for HARC-eligible horses, the United States will be offering the added money to existing races.
“We don’t have enough HARC-eligible horses currently in the USA to fill up a whole race,” Tubbs Sweeney said. “This will be a good way to get it off the ground in its first year.”
“While Evie is the Director of Marketing for the Arabian Jockey Club, the AJC is in no way affiliated with HARC,” clarified Kathy Smoke, president of the AJC. “However, the AJC will be assisting in disseminating HARC-related news and information through AJC media outlets to fulfill our role as a portal for racing data to the Arabian racing community.”
A website is currently in development for the HARC program. Any questions in the meantime can be directed to Evie Tubbs Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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