Breeders' Fund Eligible Horses after March 15, 2021 payments

The complete list of horses that are eligible for the 2021 Breeders' Fund races after the March 15, 2021 payments can be found here.

Virginia Born Standardbred Definition

Effective January 1, 2017, in order to be defined as a Virginia Born Standardbred Horse eligible for the Breeders’ Fund races, one of the following criteria must be met.


1. A registered Standardbred horse sired by a stallion registered to stand in the Commonwealth of Virginia (Commonwealth). Stallions must be registered with the VHHA by January 31st of the year they are standing in. No stallion may be moved from the farm on which he was registered without the prior permission (excluding medical emergency) of the Virginia Racing Commission and the VHHA.


2. A registered Standardbred horse foaled in the Commonwealth, provided that the foal producing mare and foal are domiciled in the Commonwealth for the birth and that both remain in the Commonwealth for six consecutive months of the year in which the foal is produced.


3. A registered Standardbred horse born to a mare that is 100% owned by a resident of the Commonwealth (defined as living and filing taxes in the Commonwealth at the time of conception.


4. A registered Standardbred horse that was being carried at the time of purchase by a pregnant mare when the mare was purchased at public auction by a resident of the Commonwealth.


Effective with foals born in 2003 and thereafter, foals other than the first foal, each year, produced by any method including, but not limited to, embryo/ovum transplant, shall be ineligible for racing and/or breeding in the Commonwealth. This rule shall not apply in the case of same birth twins.


In addition, any future offspring of foals not eligible for racing or breeding under this rule, shall also not be eligible for racing or breeding in the Commonwealth.


Stallion owners must supply the Virginia Harness Horse Association (VHHA) and the United States Trotting Association (USTA) the list of mares and dates bred to said stallion by December 31st of the year they are bred.


The appropriate payment must be made at time of registration or nomination. All further required payments must be made in order to remain eligible to the Early Closers. All registrations and payments must be in accordance with the time requirements of the VHHA.

Early Closer Rules for 2021 Virginia Breeders' Fund



Nomination, sustaining and declaration fees will be added to the final purse.


All Commonwealth bred early closer declaration fees must be paid prior to the eliminations or the horse will not be allowed to start.


All Commonwealth bred horses entered and drawn to post positions are required to pay the declaration fee at the track. This fee is required even if a horse is scratched.


The declaration fee will not be refunded unless the horse dies between the time of the declaration to start and the start of the prep or elimination race.


When an owner(s) has outstanding debts owed to the Virginia Breeders series, every horse owned in whole or part by that owner, shall be subject to be declared ineligible by the VHHA and the Virginia Racing Commission, until such time that the debt is collected.


An individual whose check for a sustaining payment, nominating payment or starting fee, is dishonored by the bank, will be reported to the Virginia Racing Commission for appropriate action. After any individual has issued more than one dishonored check, all future payments from the individual must be made by certified check or money order.


No partial payments will be accepted.



 Two and three year old trotters and pacers are to be raced at one mile. Colt and filly divisions will be separate.


To be eligible, all horses must be registered with the VHHA before closing of nomination. No exceptions.


All Virginia bred yearlings must be registered with the VHHA on or before May 15th of the yearling year. Yearling registrations must be accompanied by a registration form and a check for the proper registration fee.




 Two and three year old nomination payments of $200.00 per horse are due March 15th.

Two and three year old sustaining payments of $200.00 per horse are due May 15th.

Two and three year old declaration payments of $200.00 per horse are due at the time of entry.


Any two year old not properly registered with the VHHA as a yearling will require an additional fee of $100.00 due at time of two year old nomination payments.


Any two year old that missed the March 15th nomination payment, may supplement prior to the date of the sustaining payment (May 15th) by making the following payments: $200.00 nomination fee plus $200.00 sustaining fee plus $400.00 supplement fee for a total of $800.00.


If the two year old March 15th nomination payment is not paid (or supplemented as above prior to May 15th) the horse is not eligible to race as a three year old.


May 15th sustaining payments are not required for two year olds to remain eligible as three year olds.


A horse must have a charted flat line thirty (30) days prior to the box closing for the prep or elimination race to be eligible to race.




 Eliminations will be held prior to the finals. Horses must race in the eliminations in order to compete in the finals.


If more than eight (8) horses are entered in a division, there will be elimination races to determine the eight finishers to compete in the finals. Finishers will be decided as follows:


If there are two elimination races in a division, the top four finishers from each race will compete in the finals.


If there are three elimination races in a division, the top two finishers from each race will compete in the finals. The two fastest times of the remaining horses, will also compete in the finals.


The purse for elimination races is estimated to be $4,000.00. Estimated purses for finals will be $40,000.00 plus all nomination, sustaining and declaration fees.


Declaration fees for two and three year olds will be $200.00 per horse. After paying the declaration fee, there will be no further fees for starting the finals.


All trainers or owners must notify the racetrack and the VHHA, at the time of declaration, of any conflicts which may necessitate racing horses as an entry.


In both the elimination races and the finals, all horses must have their noses on the gate at the start. 



The VHHA and the Virginia Racing Commission reserve the right to cancel any and/or all races due to reasons beyond their control, or if it becomes impractical or undesirable to conduct said races. If an event is not raced, the VHHA responsibility and liability will be limited to refunding without interest, nomination and sustaining fees collected towards cancelled events that have not been disbursed at the time of cancellation. These monies paid will be refunded to the owners of all declared horses.




Races shall be provided for two and three year old Virginia bred Standardbreds.


There shall be races for colts and fillies in each of the trotting and pacing gaits.


Any name changes of foals must be reported to the VHHA and USTA.


Participants in the Virginia early closer races must be licensed by the Virginia Racing Commission prior to racing.


Failure to make payment required by conditions constitutes an automatic withdrawl from the event as stated in USTA rule 12 section 4.


Purse money divisions shall be:

            5 horse field- 50%  25%  12%  8%  5%

            4 horse field- 50%  25%  12%  8% 

            3 horse field- 50%  25%  12%

            2 horse field- 50%  25% 

            1 horse field- 50%


Eligibility shall be defined by the laws of the Commonwealth, the regulations of the Virginia Racing Commission and the rules set forth by the VHHA.


In order to be eligible to race in the Early Closers, the horses entered must meet one of the following conditions:


            Qualifying standards for two year old trotters- 2:13

            Qualifying standards for two year old pacers- 2:11

            Qualifying standards for three year old trotters- 2:08

            Qualifying standards for three year old pacers- 2:06


 Any and all horse(s) nominated to the Virginia Early Closers that are found to be ineligible will not be refunded any monies.


Prior to racing in Virginia Early Closers, all horses must be tattooed, freeze branded or microchipped.


General race conditions established by the race secretary and the track must be adhered to as any other race.



 Eligibility to participate in the Virginia Breeders Early Closers, as well as matters pertaining to racing therein, shall be governed by the law of the Commonwealth, regulations of the Virginia Racing Commission and the rules set forth by the VHHA.


Definitions, terms and conditions not otherwise covered, are governed by the rules and regulation of the USTA.


The Virginia Racing Commission and the VHHA reserve the right to amend, interpret and apply these rules as necessary to further the best interest of Virginia racing and to comply with the governing law.


The regulations of the Virginia Racing Commission are as promulgated by the Commission and are excerpted solely for the Commonwealth. Accordingly, if there should be any variance between an excerpt appearing above and any part of an official regulation, the official regulation shall control and neither the Virginia Racing Commission or the VHHA or any employees shall have any liability resulting there from.