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Breeders' Cup Foal Nominations Down 9%

Decline anticipated due to the economy and decline in foal crop numbers.

The number of foals nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program for 2008 was 14,602, down about 9% from 16,089 in 2007, according to figures released Feb. 24 by Breeders’ Cup.

Revenue from 2008 foal nominations is about $7.3 million based on the $500-per-foal nomination fee. That’s also down about 9% from $8 million in 2007.

Breeders’ Cup officials earlier said they anticipated a decrease—perhaps a larger one—in foal nominations in 2008, primarily due to the slumping economy. Nationally, the 2008 Thoroughbred foal crop for 2009 is expected to be down about 3.3% from 2008, and the number of mares bred in 2008 was down about 7.7% when figures were released last October.

“The decline was less than we had anticipated based on the 2008 crop and the economic climate,” Breeders’ Cup senior vice president of nominations Dora Delgado said in a statement released Feb. 23. “We are pleased to report that the percentage of eligible nominated foals to the Breeders’ Cup program last year remained steady, with 49.7% of foals participating, compared with 50.8% in 2007.”

The nomination fee of $500 per foal has been in place since the first nominations were accepted in 1983. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships launched in 1984.

Delgado said more than $30 million in purses and awards will be available to Breeders’ Cup-nominated horses this year.

Breeders’ Cup earlier this year announced it would take about $5 million from reserves to fund programs this year. The organization reversed an earlier decision to scrap the Breeders’ Cup stakes program, which provides supplements for about 100 stakes at tracks around the country.

A decline in stud fees this year because of economic conditions also figures to greatly impact Breeders’ Cup revenue. Stallion nominators pay an annual fee equal to their stallion’s advertised fee to make stallions eligible.