Oct. 24 will be for the ladies at the 2008 Breeders' Cup when all five of the World Championships events at Santa Anita will be carded for female horses. The two-day event will conclude with nine Breeders' Cup races on Oct. 25, seven of which will be open to males and females.
The Friday card will mark the first time a major Thoroughbred event in North America has focused an entire day on female championship racing.
The 2008 Breeders’ Cup, with $25.5 million in total purses, is the 25th running of the event and will be televised live on ESPN, and in more than 120 countries.
Friday’s purses will now total $8 million, more than doubling last year’s Breeders’ Cup Friday purses. The Breeders’ Cup also announced that it has renamed the Breeders Cup Distaff (gr. I) the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic, which will be the premier race on the Breeders’ Cup Friday program. Since 1984, 18 of winners of the Distaff were named divisional champions. Two Distaff winners, Lady’s Secret (1986) and Azeri (2002), were also voted Horse of the Year.
The Friday card will consist of the Ladies' Classic, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. In addition to the championship events at the track, the Breeders’ Cup plans to develop a series of Championship festivities designed to promote the new Friday format, including:
- Cause-related programs focused on women’s health.
- On-site initiatives for fans and other guests of the event.
- Consumer promotions in the Los Angeles marketplace and on a national basis.
- Simulcast events in multiple markets throughout North America.
- Special merchandise designed for Championship Friday.
- First of its kind sponsor activation elements, broadcast and other media programs designed to support both the racing and charitable components
In 2007, the Breeders’ Cup crowned four female champions – Indian Blessing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Maryfield in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Lahudood (GB) in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), and Ginger Punch in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I).
“The initial response from the Breeders’ Cup family including ESPN, our marketing partners, nominators and trustees has been extremely supportive and enthusiastic,” said Breeders Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli. “By shifting some of our traditional Saturday races to Friday, we ensure that Friday stands on its own as an international competition of the highest level. This new format provides a great stage to showcase the talents of the best female Thoroughbreds in the world.”
Breeders’ Cup officials are in discussions with several prominent non-profit women’s organizations and plan to select its partners in March.
“Combining the best of Filly racing with devoting a day to women’s health is a great development which ESPN is proud to join. The Breeders’ Cup keeps raising the bar in the presentation of world championship horse racing,” said Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisition.
2008 Breeders’ Cup Schedule of Races
Friday, October 24
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT)
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I)
Saturday, October 25
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I)
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I)
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT)
$3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT)
$5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I)
$500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon