(Edited release from Breeders' Cup Limited)
Why is Breeders’ Cup making changes to its International Nomination Program?
In 2009, under the program that’s been in place for decades, only 1,200 foals from a total European crop of 18,000 foals were nominated to the Breeders’ Cup. For the rest of the world (excluding Europe and North America), only 25 foals of an estimated 50,000 were nominated to the Breeders’ Cup.
The lack of international foal nominations has impacted the number of top horses that participate in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships each year because substantial late nomination fees (ranging from $100,000 to $200,000) are required for all non-nominated horses to gain entry into the Championships. For example, in 2009 the owners of international champion Gloria de Campo chose to bypass the 2009 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita citing the high costs of a late nomination.
While a number of owners each year choose to pay the late nomination fees for the right to compete in our $26 million Championships, many find these fees a sufficient deterrent to bypass the event.
How will the new nominations program work?
All stallions standing outside North America in the Northern Hemisphere would be required to pay an annual nomination fee equal to 50% of their published stud fee and stallions standing in the Southern Hemisphere would be required to pay a nomination fee equal to 25%. In exchange for that nomination fee, any foals conceived that year would be eligible for life to run in all Breeders’ Cup races. Stallion managers in the Northern Hemisphere would be asked to commit to the program prior to January 1 and in the Southern Hemisphere prior to June 30.
What Are the Benefits to the Stud Farms from Breeders’ Cup Stallion Nominations?
The biggest benefit will be the automatic eligibility for all foals by the nominated sires to run in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships (14 races and $25.5 million in purses) without the requirement to pay late nomination fees.
Foals by nominated sires also will be eligible to run each year in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in the U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, France, Australia, and Hong Kong that will provide $4 million in incentives and awards to Challenge winners, including a chance to secure an automatic qualifying position in that year’s World Championships under the "Win and You’re In" format and, for the first time, payment of Championship entry fees and stipends for transportation costs.
How does encouraging the participation of international owners and breeders in Breeders’ Cup’s programs help Breeders’ Cup? How does it help North American breeders?
The Breeders’ Cup’s position as a season ending global championship is what sets us apart from any other event. By encouraging more international participation, the Breeders’ Cup strengthens our Championships’ prominence in world racing and provides the platform for showcasing the best horses bred and sold in North America--whether they are trained in the United States or elsewhere around the world. As a commercial property, the international success of the Breeders’ Cup makes it a much more attractive event for sponsors and fans in the same way that international competition is the driving force behind the Olympics, World Cup, and Ryder Cup.
How will the changes to the Challenge program and open enrollment for non-nominated foals further the Breeders’ Cup’s internationalizations efforts?
Both of these initiatives are designed to increase the number of the best horses in the world that participate in our Championships. So, in the case of the Challenge we will now make it much easier for the 65 Challenge winners to come to the Championships each year by paying their entry fees and subsidizing their travel costs. The one-time Open Enrollment will give owners throughout the world an opportunity in 2011 to make any non-nominated horse eligible for what is essentially a bargain price of between 3% and 25% of what it historically has cost to pay a late nomination fee. In the aggregate we think these changes will substantially increase the size and quality of our Championship fields as early as 2011.
What other ways will North American breeders benefit from these new changes beyond the growth of the Championships as a global property?
North American breeders have always been the backbone of our property. In addition to the value that being Breeders’ Cup eligible adds to their nominated foals, North American breeders now have the opportunity to receive nearly three times the level of breeder awards under the new Challenge program than was previously available to them under the discontinued Stakes program. As a result of these changes, Breeders’ Cup now allocates nearly 45% of its foal nomination revenues for payment back to North American breeders in the form of breeder awards. In addition, Breeders’ Cup awards $1.1 million to stallion nominators each year.