Plans for a national state-bred championship series tied to the Breeders' Cup moved forward Friday during a Breeders' Cup board of directors meeting in Lexington, officials said. If the program comes to fruition, it would be held the Friday before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, perhaps next year.
"We're still in the planning process, and there are a number of communication duties to do," Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said. "We want to create an event that ties into state breed associations across the country. We've had very positive feedback so far."
During a Friday luncheon, Gary Biszantz, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, told winners of the organization's annual state breeder awards the proposed program would be excellent for quality horses who may not qualify for the World Thoroughbred Championships. He used Hallowed Dreams, the queen of Louisiana-breds, and Freespool, a top Kentucky-bred sprinter based California, as examples.
"If (the program) was added to the weekend of Breeders' Cup, it would be very exciting," Biszantz said.
In theory, the new stakes would feature the top horses from various state-bred programs by division.
Van Clief said he couldn't discuss details because "structural changes" could be made pending the outcome of a poll, but he did say one goal of the program would be to strengthen ties between the NTRA and the Thoroughbred industry's grass roots. The program could be rolled out during the NTRA membership meeting Oct. 10-11 in Lexington, he said.
Biszantz, the first TOBA chairman from the West Coast, took over the top spot in August. He told the membership Friday that "owners and breeders need to have a better and bigger voice and be at the bargaining table."