03/19/2004 12:00AM

BC to raise stakes money

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Breeders' Cup Ltd. and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association plan to contribute additional purse money through the Breeders' Cup Stakes program to 113 races in 2004, a 10-race increase over last year.

The total awards for the 113 races will be $7.2 million this year, up $800,000 over 2003. The awards for individual races range from $100,000 to $25,000, in some cases doubling the total purse for the stakes.

While all horses will be eligible to run in any of the Breeders' Cup stakes, only horses nominated to the Breeders' Cup are eligible to win the additional purse money. The program was created in order to allow Breeders' Cup-nominated horses to earn additional purse awards throughout the year, rather than just on Breeders' Cup Day.

A portion of the increase in additional purse awards in 2004 was raised by an increase in the starting fee for horses in the eight Breeders' Cup Championship day races last year, according to Jim Gluckson, a spokesman for Breeders' Cup. The starting fee for those races was raised in 2003 from 2 percent of the total purse to 3 percent, an increase criticized by some owners.

The 10 new Breeders' Cup races in 2004 include the $400,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, with $100,000 of the purse eligible for Breeders' Cup-nominated horses; the $200,000 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park, a race that was renewed this year after a one-year hiatus ($100,000 in BC funds); and the $200,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar ($50,000).