By Lenny Shulman and Ron Mitchell
The Breeders’ Cup board of directors has decided to fund the Breeders’ Cup Stakes program for 2009 by using money from the organization’s reserve fund, according to a statement dated Dec. 17.
The statement confirms a report on bloodhorse.com Dec. 16 saying the organization would reverse its previous decision to not fund the Stakes program that added about $5 million to the purses of stakes at North American racetracks in 2008. Citing declining revenue from stallion nominations, Breeders’ Cup announced Dec. 11 it wouldn’t fund the Stakes program in 2009. There was an immediate response from many breeders criticizing the decision.
“We temporarily suspended the Breeders’ Cup Stakes program last week with the goal of achieving a balanced budget for 2009 in the face of declining revenues,” Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish said in the Dec. 17 statement. “Since then, we have been urged by a number of leading nominators and trustees to reconsider.
"Given the economic circumstances of our breeders, and with our goal of being responsive to our nominators, we have listened and have authorized a portion of the Breeders’ Cup reserve funds be made available to maintain the stakes program in 2009.”
However, Farish told The Blood-Horse Dec. 17 "there is no guarantee we can take that money out of the investment fund in the future. There is no way to predict where this economy will be a year from now."
That would put the Stakes program for 2010 in the same jeopardy that the 2009 program found itself in this year.