06/17/2008 11:00PM

BC adds 4 automatic berths


The Breeders' Cup has added four stakes to its series of races that guarantee the winner a spot in one of the 14 championship races scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita Park in Southern California, the organization said Wednesday.

Three of the Win and You're In races will qualify the winners for an automatic berth in a new race, the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon at 1 5/8 miles on the main track. The races are the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park on July 19; the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar on July 30; and the 1 1/2-mile Turfway Fall Championship at Turfway Park on Sept. 6. They are the first races to allow winners to automatically qualify for the Marathon, which the Breeders' Cup is promoting in the hope that distance racing becomes more common in the U.S.

The other Win and You're In race, the Sept. 20 Tiznow Stakes at a mile on the dirt at Louisiana Downs, will qualify the winner for a berth in the $1 million Dirt Mile, which was held for the first time last year.

The Breeders' Cup launched the automatic-berth system two years ago. Last year, 24 races were designated for automatic berths. This year, the Breeders' Cup has designated 57 races for the system, including several races in Europe, Hong Kong, and Canada.