The Breeders' Cup, in collaboration with Thoroughbred leadership group Vision 2020, announced July 24 the launch of Fantasy 'Capping, a free-to-play online fantasy game that spotlights 12 of the major races leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The game concludes with the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3.
Like successful fantasy models employed by the sports of professional football and baseball, Fantasy 'Capping is designed to spur competition by allowing participants to compete against friends in small, competitive leagues.
Those that want to take on outsiders also have the option of joining public leagues. While individual league prizes will be left up to league members to decide, a global leader board will keep track of the top Fantasy 'Cappers in the country and reward them with such prizes as cash, iPads, and Breeders' Cup merchandise.
The concept for the game was developed and tested in 2011 by Vision 2020 and is designed to help attract new fans to the sport by providing them with a fun, simple, and stimulating way to follow the biggest races in America on a weekly basis.
Each week, Fantasy 'Capping players will be provided the information needed to handicap that Saturday's race, including a write-up of contenders, a history of the track and race, past performances, and links to outside articles pertaining to the race. Using that information, contestants will have the opportunity to place one of four "Fantasy Wagers" on the featured race: $20 to Win, $20 to Place, $20 to Show, or a $10 Exacta Box ($20 total).
Total "Fantasy Earnings" within the game are determined by the actual race results and payouts. Following the conclusion of each Saturday's race, participants will receive an email link to watch the race replay in case they were unable to view it live. League standings and the global leader board will be updated immediately once the race is pronounced official.
"Fantasy 'Capping provides fans and newcomers an engaging environment to compete against their friends on the road to the Breeders' Cup, while familiarizing themselves with the racetracks and personalities that make our sport so exciting," Justin McDonald, senior director of marketing and digital media for the Breeders' Cup, said in a release. "We are thrilled to be able to build upon the concept developed by Vision 2020 and share their desire to attract a new, younger fan base to our sport."
Registration is now open at www.fantasycapping.com and will remain open up until the start of the Breeders' Cup Nov. 2. The Fantasy 'Capping season officially starts with the Aug. 4 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), but fans can create or join a league at any time before registration closes Nov. 2.
"We all know what a great sport we have, but we also know it can be intimidating at first for those who don't have a background in horse racing," Bret Jones, Breeders' Cup director and a steering committee member of Vision 2020, said in a statement. "For that reason, Vision 2020 set out to design a fantasy game that would be simple enough to attract new fans to the sport while also being exciting enough to keep their interest week by week. The Breeders' Cup took this concept and ran with it, and they should be applauded for working hard to attract the new, youthful fans that our sport so desperately needs."