Del Mar and The Stronach Group have announced a $1 million bonus to a horse that sweeps this year's Aug. 20 TVG Pacific Classic, Oct. 1 Xpressbet.com Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita, and the Nov. 5 Breeders' Cup Classic (all gr. I) at Santa Anita.
The $1 million Pacific Classic and the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic are both run at 1 1/4 miles. The $300,000 Awesome Again is contested at 1 1/8 miles.
"A big part of our business is to bring our fans the stars of the game," said Tom Robbins, executive vice president of racing at Del Mar. "A bonus like this is an extra added incentive for the best horses to come to Southern California and aim for our biggest prizes. With the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita again this year, it is a gold lining on a natural path for a potential champion."
Santa Anita will host the Breeders' Cup for a record ninth time this year Nov. 4-5.
"With the Breeders' Cup coming back here in November, we are delighted to be part of this million-dollar bonus and we're hopeful it will help to encourage some of the best horses in the world to headquarter and run here in Southern California," said Joe Morris, vice president of West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. "We'd like to thank Del Mar for working with us on this and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to another great Breeders' Cup meet at Santa Anita Park in the fall."
The three Southern California races pay winning purses of $600,000 for the Pacific Classic, $180,000 for the Awesome Again, and $2,750,000 for the Breeders' Cup Classic. A horse that sweeps all three would be looking at potential purse earnings of $3,530,000, plus an additional $1 million, all in a period of 11 weeks.
"As the proud sponsor of Del Mar's marquee event—the TVG Pacific Classic—we are excited about the investment to attract the sport's top horses to race in California this summer and fall," said Kip Levin, chief executive officer of TVG/Betfair US. "We applaud our partners at Del Mar and Santa Anita for their creativity."
No horse has won all three of the bonus races in one year. One, however—the $7.7 million earner Pleasantly Perfect—did capture the trio, though it was in different seasons. Several other horses, including Bertrando, Lava Man, Richard's Kid, Game On Dude, and Shared Belief, have won two of the three races.