The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will have a new look at first-time host Monmouth Park this year--an expanded two-day event that will inaugurate three $1-million stakes designed to accommodate owners and breeders.
Select purse increases pushed the total value of the 2006 World Championships to $20 million for eight races. In 2007, there will be $23 million offered for 11 races under a plan approved Jan. 5 by the Breeders’ Cup board of directors.
The new races are the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for 3-year-olds and up, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, a one-mile event open to 2-year-old males and females.
At Monmouth, the Dirt Mile will be run at a mile and 70 yards and the Filly & Mare Sprint at six furlongs. In future years, the distances will be one mile and seven furlongs, respectively.
The new schedule, subject to approval from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Monmouth, and the New Jersey Racing Commission, places the three new stakes on Friday, Oct. 26. The eight existing Cup races are set for Saturday, Oct. 27.
The expanded Oct. 26 program will include three $250,000 stakes funded by Breeders’ Cup. They are a 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds fillies, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds fillies, and a six-furlong test for 2-year-olds. Total purses for the Friday card will be $4 million, which makes it the second-richest day of racing in North American behind Breeders’ Cup day.
“Today’s announcement, along with other previously announced changes over the course of the last year, provides the framework for unprecedented growth of the Breeders’ Cup,” Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish said “There will be more races, more purse money, and more nominator participation than at any time in the event’s history, all designed to attract the best horses from around the world to compete in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.”
Last year, purses were increased from $14 million to $20 million, and new nomination rules for horses or racing age were implemented. This year, the previously announced Breeders’ Cup Challenge will allow winners of 24 sanctioned stakes at six racetracks to gain automatic berths in the World Championships under a “Win and You’re In” format.
The event also has unprecedented promotion from partner ESPN, which televised its first Breeders’ Cup in 2006.
“All of this innovation--increased purse levels, new races, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge--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.”
Said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the NJSEA: “We are extremely excited to be the inaugural host of the two-day Breeders’ Cup format. We have been undergoing more than $30 million in structural improvements to Monmouth Park, which we believe will make for a spectacular showcase for this year’s event. We expect to gain the necessary approvals in the near future.”