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May 16, 2010

Breeders' Cup to enhance "Win and You're In" program


Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Breeders' Cup Limited announced Monday changes to its Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" program, beginning in 2011. The organization also revealed a plan to increase international participation in the two-day event.

"The Breeders' Cup World Championships is our flagship and the programs we are unveiling today will make it an even stronger global competition moving forward," said Breeders' Cup chairman Bill Farish. "While some of these initiatives are targeted at the overseas market, we believe that building our global championships and strengthening the Breeders' Cup's international brand will directly support a stronger U.S. commercial thoroughbred breeding and racing market."

There are currently 66 "Win and You're In" races which guarantee the winner of each a spot in the starting field for corresponding Breeders' Cup Championship events.

In 2011 Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees and subsidize travel costs to the World Championships for all Challenge winners who are Breeders' Cup eligible. A new $10,000 award will be paid by Breeders' Cup to the nominator of any North American foal that wins a Challenge race.

"In addition to the automatic starting berth," said Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher, "with the added benefits of Breeders' Cup augmenting shipping expenses and paying entry fees for all Challenge winners, trainers are going to have to think twice when scheduling summer and fall campaigns."

The 2011 Breeders' Cup Challenge schedule will be announced later this year.

In an effort to broaden international participation, there will be automatic eligibility, as of the start of 2011, to Breeders' Cup races for all foals sired by Breeders' Cup nominated international stallions.

To qualify for the new program, owners of stallions located outside North America in the Northern Hemisphere will pay an annual nomination fee equal to 50 percent of their stallion's published stud fee and owners of stallions standing in the Southern Hemisphere will pay a nomination fee equal to 25 percent of their stallion's published stud fee.

"Over the past few years, less than two percent of all international thoroughbreds have been eligible to run in our Championships," said Breeders' Cup President and CEO, Greg Avioli. "We believe the new changes to expand international eligibility along with the additional incentives for Challenge winners and North American breeders should ensure we continue to draw the best fields in the world to racing's premier event."

There will be no changes to the current North American nominations programs.

In addition, a special one-time, fee-based "open enrollment" program in 2011 for previously ineligible horses will be instituted. This open enrollment program will be available from February 1 through June 30, 2011 to any horse sired by stallions nominated to the Breeders' Cup in 2011 according to the following fee schedule: yearlings for $3,000, two-year-olds for $6,000 and three-year-olds and up for $25,000.

"This is a one-time incentive that we thought long and hard about," said Avioli. "Initially, it was targeted to international participants, but we considered the overall fairness issues and the benefits this could provide owners in the U.S. and Canada and decided it was in everyone's interest to offer it on a worldwide basis.

"We are fortunate that thoroughbred racing is a global sport with strong interest around the world. We have concentrated on opening up new markets for wagering over the last few years and the results have been promising."

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