The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected to operate in the black for the first time this year, but it continues to rely on the Breeders' Cup for financial assistance. A $54-million budget for the two organizations, which embarked on a joint operating agreement Jan. 1, was approved Feb. 16.On Jan. 7, the Breeders' Cup board of directors allocated $2.5 million to underwrite the NTRA's budget for this year, said D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of the Breeders' Cup and vice chairman of the NTRA. The NTRA received about $3.5 million from the Breeders' Cup last October to reduce its operating deficit.Of the $54 million, $19 million is for purses for the Breeders' Cup championship and for the organization's National Stakes Program. Another $10 million will go to the "combined operation" for general administrative costs, capital costs, and marketing programs, Van Clief said."There are still costs (related) to Breeders' Cup operations, such as liability insurance," Van Clief said. "Of the money generated by Breeders' Cup nominations, income from the event, and rights fees, much goes into the championship. The NTRA still needs money, and Breeders' Cup dollars continue to underwrite some programs as always. But as time goes on, I think the lines will become fuzzier."Breeders' Cup regularly spends more than it has, but it draws on its financial investments to balance its budget each year. Those invested funds have allowed Breeders' Cup, a $1-million founding member of the NTRA, to support the three-year-old organization financially in the past.