The leadership of the American Saddlebred Registry has announced comprehensive changes and updating of its American Saddlebred Grand National prize program, based on decisions made by its board of directors in late July. Since 1984, over 10,000 Saddlebreds have been recorded in the program, including approximately 320 stallions; more than $2.6 million in prizes have been paid by the Grand National since its inception.
Perhaps the most important change from the standpoint of Grand National exhibitors and potential enrollees in the program is a major change to the payout structure for Grand National’s regular purses of $1,800 per class. Beginning in January 2008, for the upcoming competition year, the Owner, Recorder and Nominator of a Grand National horse will receive equal shares of the purses, resulting in increases in prize monies to Recorders of competing horses and Nominators of Grand National stallions. Owners of Grand National horses will still receive purses. For example, in a typical class the Grand National first prize of $900 will be split into three equal shares of $300 to each, second monies will be $200 each, and third will be $100 each to the Owner, Record and Nominator.
According the American Saddlebred Horse Association, these changes are designed to reward the Stallion Nominator and Recorder in accordance with their investment in raising the successful Grand National competing horse, as well as the owner who continues to campaign the horse in Grand National classes throughout the country, and to stimulate new interest in Grand National program enrollments.
In addition, effective immediately, for owners who nominate a stallion prior to December 31, 2007, the Nominator will receive the option of a free recording in the Grand National program. For horses owned by the Nominator of the stallion (any individual, not just the stallion owner, may nominate a stallion), the Nominator will receive a free recording if one recording is purchased. Therefore, such a Nominator would be able to record one weanling at $250 and receive another weanling recording free; record one 2-year-old at $750 and receive one such recording without charge, and so forth. Recordings in the Grand National program are for the lifetime of the recorded horse. With $24,000 in Grand National purse supplements already announced for Regional Championships across America beginning in September, the ASHA is advising owners and breeders to take careful notice of this offer.
Also effective immediately, Grand National is establishing a new Lifetime Grand National Stallion Nomination Fee Schedule, based on the number of mares bred, as an inducement to recruit new stallions into the program. Stallions that have reported breedings to 10 or fewer mares in the preceding year may now be nominated for their lifetime for a fee of $500 if the stallion is by a Grand National nominated sire or (even if by a non-nominated sire) the stallion is himself already Grand National Recorded. Other such breeding stallions may be nominated for $750.
For stallions having bred 11-24 mares, the fees for nomination will be $1,000 and $1,500 respectively. For stallions having bred 25 or more mares, the fees will be $2,500 and $3,000 respectively.
In addition, an annual Grand National Stallion Nominating Fee will be offered immediately: Stallions that have bred 24 or fewer mares in the previous reporting year may be nominated for one year by payment of from $250 to $750.
Competitions that support the Grand National program are included in the enhancement program. In addition to the supplements already announced for the Grand National competitions designated as Regional Championships for 2007, all competitions enrolled in the 2008 Grand National program will participate in a drawing for selection to offer $5,000 Grand National Special Stakes. At least three Grand National shows will be drawn to offer these Special Stakes each year, with those that have participated for three consecutive years preferred. Special Stakes are offered only in the major performance sections: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited and Fine Harness.
Also in 2008, at least five Regional Championships will be selected for $5,000 Grand National Championship purse supplements, among those that are enrolled in the Grand National program.