Juvenile Consignors To Sponsor Futurity Races

In an attempt to attract more buyers to juvenile auctions, the National Association of 2-Year-Old Consignors will sponsor a pair of restricted stakes at Delaware Park this year. The NATC Futurity will have two divisions, one for colts and geldings and one for fillies. Both will be run at six furlongs on Labor Day weekend, and both will have a purse of $100,000 guaranteed. The value of each race is expected to exceed $200,000.The divisions will be open to any 2-year-old consigned by an NATC member who also is a contributor to the organization's advertising fund.

"We're all the time looking for ways to bring 2-year-old sales to the attention of people who race, and we thought this would be a good idea," said Nick de Meric, a NATC board member. "We also thought it would provide a good opportunity for stakes caliber horses that might not be ready for the graded competition at Saratoga and Del Mar."

In the recently released catalogue for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's select auction at Calder Race Course on Feb. 5, eligibility for the NATC Futurity is included in the listing under "engagements" at the bottom of each horse's page. The NATC and Delaware Park both are putting up money for the races, de Meric said. Nomination fees and two sustaining payments to maintain eligibility will generate additional funds.

Founded in 2001, the NATC promotes sales of 2-year-olds in training and works with sale companies to enhance the auction process. The organization was involved in the establishment of stricter medication guidelines and testing programs at juvenile sales. The NATC also developed a national advertising campaign that focuses on successful juvenile auction graduates