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Breeders' Cup to expand to 11 races over two days

The event will be staged Oct. 26-27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. Three new races will be worth $1 million each.

January 09, 2007|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Those who think eight Breeders' Cup races run on a single day are not enough can look forward to more.

The Breeders' Cup announced Monday that it would expand from eight to 11 races in the fall, spread out over two days.

The event, which is being held in New Jersey for the first time this year, will be run Oct. 26-27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport.

Pending approval by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Monmouth, and other state regulators, three new Breeders' Cup races, each worth $1 million, will be run Friday, Oct. 26, as part of a 10-race card. Total purses for the day will be $4 million, making it the second-richest day of racing in North America.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday January 10, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Horse racing: A story in Tuesday's Sports section on the Breeders' Cup expanding to 11 races referred several times to the Filly and Mare Turf Sprint. The race is called the Filly and Mare Sprint and is run on a dirt track.

The traditional eight Breeders' Cup races, including the $5-million Classic, will be run the next day.

This is the first expansion for the Breeders' Cup since the Filly and Mare Turf race was added in 1999.

Spokesman Jim Gluckson said the Breeders' Cup is working with ESPN, which televised the Breeders' Cup for the first time in 2006, to show the three new Friday races.

Last Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, ESPN provided seven hours of coverage on Breeders' Cup Day.

"The details should be announced in the coming weeks," Gluckson said, adding that the Breeders' Cup was looking to sell ticket packages to include both days.

The added races are the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile for 3-year-olds and up, the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf Sprint for fillies and mares, and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf for 2-year-olds of both sexes at one mile.

Because of the layout of the main track at Monmouth Park, the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile will be run at a mile and 70 yards this year, but at the named distance in 2008 and beyond.

Similarly, because of the configuration of the turf course, the Filly and Mare Turf Sprint will be at six furlongs Oct. 26, but at seven furlongs in Breeders' Cups to follow.

According to Thoroughbred Times, Pam Blatz-Murff, the senior vice president of Breeders' Cup operations, said Breeders' Cup Ltd. would ask the North American graded stakes committee to apply Grade I status immediately to the three new races.

The Friday program will include three other as yet unnamed stakes, each worth $250,000. The plan is that those races will eventually become Breeders' Cup races as well. Those races are for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, a mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies, and a sprint for 2-year-olds at six furlongs.

"All of this innovation with increased purses and new races is designed to enhance the Breeders' Cup as the preeminent global racing brand," Breeders' Cup President Greg Avioli said. "Today's marketplace demands change, innovation and the willingness to take chances.

"The Breeders' Cup board has embraced this and is giving us the freedom and responsibility to take the event to the next level."

The group's board of directors approved the plan Friday and the board of members and trustees OK'd it Sunday.

The three new races will increase total purses for the Breeders' Cup to $23 million. A year ago, purses were increased from $14 million to $20 million.

In October, the Breeders' Cup announced the beginning of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of 24 races at six tracks -- including Del Mar and Santa Anita -- that will reward the winners with automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup. Eight of the Challenge races will be run in California during the summer and early fall.

"There will be more racing, more purse money and more nominator participation than at any time in the history of the event," said Bill Farish, Breeders' Cup chairman. "They are all designed to attract the best horses from around the world to compete in the Breeders' Cup."

bob.mieszerski@latimes.com

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