Updated on 09/16/2011 7:00AM

BC Juveniles longer in 2002


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The World Throughbred Championship races for 2-year-olds will be lengthened to 1 1/8 miles for the 2002 runnings next fall at Arlington Park. The change, approved in a Breeders' Cup board meeting held at the Diplomat-Westin Hotel in Hallandale Beach on Friday, is only for the 2002 runnings.

The two races, the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, are usually run at 1 1/16 miles. A new distance was needed because of the layout of Arlington's main track, which is 1 1/8 miles in circumference and cannot comfortably accommodate large fields in 1 1/16-mile races because of a short run into the first turn.

In three of the first four runnings of the Breeders' Cup - at Hollywood Park in 1984 and 1987 and at Aqueduct in 1985 - the two 2-year-old races were run at one mile. But in every year since then, the races have been run at 1 1/16 miles.

D.G. Van Clief, president of Breeders' Cup Ltd., said after the board meeting that two advisory committees had recommended the races be lengthened, as opposed to shortened back to a mile.

"The phrase that was coined was 'classic legitimacy,' " said Van Clief.

The Cup board also authorized preparation of a multiyear schedule for the event as well as a plan forpurse increases. While the 2002 event will be run Oct. 26 at Arlington, located in Chicago's Northwest suburbs, there has been no official designation for 2003 and beyond, although Santa Anita already has been tentatively approved for 2003 by the board.

Total purses for the eight championship races are $13 million, topped by the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. With the $6 million Dubai World Cup having overtaken the Classic as the world's richest race, there has been speculation that the Breeders' Cup board would increase the Classic purse at the first opportunity.

But, said Van Clief: "The preliminary recommendations might surprise you. The races under consideration as priorities are the Mile and Filly and Mare Turf." Both are currently $1 million races.

"Again, that's preliminary because obviously we have time to give this further consideration," Van Clief said. "As for a third priority, the Classic is always going to be a candidate."

In other action, the board decreased the number of horses receiving automatic berths in Breeders' Cup races from eight to seven while increasing the number of horses selected by the racing secretaries/directors panel in oversubscribed races from six to seven. The board also approved the stipulation that any horses qualifying under the point system must accumulate at least six points, which are earned by placings in U.S. graded stakes (the two 2-year-old races are exempt).

The board also agreed to establish a ranking system for horses in all eight races. The rankings, which will debut sometime this summer, will be used primarily for promotional and television purposes and will not have any bearing on which horses are selected to run.