Increased entry fees await participating owners in this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships but Breeders' Cup officials note that many owner benefits have been added to the event in recent years and more will be unveiled in 2016.
Of course the biggest benefit for owners was announced June 13: The Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I) will each receive $1 million boosts in purse money, with the Classic going to $6 million and the Turf going to $4 million. Those two races—along with the other 11 Breeders' Cup races—also will see increased pre-entry and entry fees for owners.
The combined pre-entry and entry fee for the Classic will be increased from $100,000 last year to $150,000 in 2016, a 50% increase. The $150,000 in fees is 2.5% of the total purse. Total fees for the Turf go from $60,000 last year to $100,000 this year, which also is 2.5% of the purse.
Last year the combined pre-entry and entry fees for all 13 races were set at 2% of each total purse. This year the Classic and Turf will be at 2.5% while all other races go to 3%. Races with a $1 million purse will go from $20,000 last year to $30,000 this year; $1.5 million-purse races go from $30,000 to $45,000; and $2 million-purse races go from $40,000 to $60,000.
The Breeders' Cup Board of Directors approved the increased fees at a February meeting. Breeders' Cup senior vice president of racing and nominations Dora Delgado said that pre-entry and entry fees were restored to pre-2013 levels for many of the races. She said the board had temporarily lowered fees for the past three years, which previously had been set at 3% of purses.
"Since 2003, our fees have ranged from 3% total, down to 2%, and are in line with large racing events that do not have a title sponsor or are invitational," Delgado said.
Breeders' Cup also has added benefits in recent years, including paid travel fees of up to $10,000 for North American horses shipping into a venue and up to $40,000 if traveling internationally. Breeders' Cup estimates that 135 horses will receive such benefits this year.
Also, many starters have their fees paid for by winning Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" races. Breeders' Cup estimates that 50 starters in this year's World Championships, as winners of Challenge races, will not pay pre-entry or entry fees.
This year Breeders' Cup is adding a $1,500 credit for individual owners' hotel stays (a partnership or syndicate is considered one owner) at one of the official, participating hotels. Owners receive a complimentary table or box for six for each horse they enter and complimentary invitations to all official functions.
Breeders' Cup said purse increases for its top races were needed.
"Raising purses on our two flagship races raises the profile of those races both domestically and internationally and acts as an incentive to keep horses racing longer," Delgado said. "They make the Turf and Classic the richest two races in North America until the Pegasus Cup runs for the first time."
Delgado said the structure of purse payouts also has been changed, now paying down to eighth place.
"We made it our focus this year to not only offer more purse and awards money, which total $28 million in 2016, but to change the payouts down to the eighth finish position, continue with out-of-state shipper travel allowances, focus on greater hospitality to our owners and participants, and to provide world class racing for our fans," Delgado said, noting that paying down to eighth place will allow 104 horses to earn at least 1% of their fees back. "By changing the payout structure, we provide an extra incentive to run in some of the most competitive races in the world."