Sending a horse to the Breeders' Cup World Championships is not only a difficult feat because of the talent and training requirements, but also from a cost perspective. In the end, however, many owners of Breeders' Cup-worthy horses find it worth the expense to have their chance at glory.
While winning a Breeders' Cup Challenge race will certainly help supplement costs because of waived entry fees, it's interesting to first examine how much it could take for a non-Challenge winner to make it to the event.
For the Breeders' Cup a pre-entry fee, as well as an entry fee must be paid. The two fees combined are equal to 2% of the total purse. This fee was reduced from 3% last year after Breeders' Cup approved its 2013 budget.
These fees are collectively $10,000 for the Breeders' Cup Marathon; $20,000 for the Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I), Turf Sprint (gr. IT), Dirt Mile (gr. I), Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT), and Juvenile Turf (gr. IT); $30,000 for the Xpressbet Sprint (gr. I); $40,000 for the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Distaff (gr. I), Juvenile (gr. I), and Mile (gr. IT); $60,000 for the Turf (gr. IT); and $100,000 for the Classic (gr. I).
If a horse is pre-entered for more than one race, the required pre-entry payment must be for the race of the greatest value, regardless of whether that race is first preference or not.
Shipping costs depend on how the horses are flown into California for the event. It makes a significant difference whether horses are shipped on a scheduled service aircraft or a chartered flight. If it's the latter, it could cost the owner hundreds of thousands more dollars.
This year, shipping costs will be greatly reduced because of the Breeders' Cup's new agreement to pay travel allowances for all participants shipping from outside California.
Owners of horses shipping from outside of North America to the championships will receive a $40,000 travel allowance in 2013, and owners of domestic horses shipping to California will receive a $10,000 travel allowance. Breeders' Cup officials noted that these allowances could cover a large majority of the shipping costs if a horse is shipped in on a scheduled service aircraft versus a chartered flight.
Other fees for Breeders' Cup horses include workers compensation, blood tests, Jockey Club registration papers (international only), and trucking, which can add up to another $2,000-$3,000.
If a horse wins a Breeders' Cup Challenge race, it not only receives an automatic berth into the Championships, but the Breeders' Cup also will pay entry fees for its connections if the horse was nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by Oct. 21. Considering the waived entry fees, plus travel allowances, Challenge winners save their owners a significant amount of money.
With 67 qualifying races spanning 10 countries, each of the 14 Breeders' Cup divisions have Challenge races. Last year, 45 winners of Breeders' Cup Challenge races participated in the World Championships.
Horses of racing age not previously nominated to the Breeders' Cup as foals face additional charges. It costs a $100,000 nomination fee for a horse of racing age sired by a stallion that was properly nominated in the year of conception, or $200,000 for a horse sired by a stallion that was not properly nominated to the Breeders' Cup program. Once nominated, these horses are eligible for their entire careers.