Ladbrokes to Sponsor World's Oldest Classic

Ladbrokes, the world's biggest bookmaker, is sponsoring the final British classic of the year, the St. Leger (Eng-I) at Doncaster, England. The 229th renewal of the race on turf over one mile, six furlongs and 132 yards on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2005 will now be worth £450,000 and will increase to £500,000 by 2007.

In an effort to attract more top 3-year-olds to the race that is unique due to its long distance, the fifth and final of Britain's five classics each year is also being helped by a £1-million bonus to any horse who can win the traditional colts' British Triple Crown -- the Two Thousand Guineas at a mile at Newmarket on April 30, the Vodafone Derby at 1 1/2 miles at Epsom Downs on June 4, and the St. Leger, all group I. This was last accomplished by Nijinsky in 1970.

Ian Penrose, chief executive of Arena Leisure which took over the management of Doncaster Racecourse last September, said: "Being the oldest classic in the world, the St. Leger is steeped in Turf history. We are determined to build on this and to ensure that, through our partnership with Ladbrokes, this great race is restored to its former glory."