12/12/2008 12:00AM

Breeders' Cup eliminates '09 purse supplements


The Breeders' Cup has suspended for one year its $5 million program providing supplements to stakes purses at 40 racetracks, citing an anticipated reduction in revenues because of the dismal worldwide economy.

The suspension was approved by the Breeders' Cup board of directors at a meeting on Thursday, along with a 0.5-point increase in entry fees for the organization's two-day card of championship races and a reduction in nomination fees for horses of racing age. The purses for the event's 14 races will remain unchanged, the Breeders' Cup said. Purses for the 14 races total $25.5 million.

"Even with the difficult economic circumstances, the board was committed to holding the line on championship purses," said Breeders' Cup's chief executive, Greg Avioli, referring to the 14 races, in a prepared statement. "While the financial results for the 2008 championships were solid, the combination of the economy and its effects on the sales and breeding segments of our business provides a challenging environment, and we've had to take steps to ensure that we emerge positively from the current atmosphere."

Jim Gluckson, a Breeders' Cup spokesman, said that the Breeders' Cup will revisit the suspension of the supplemental stakes program in 2009.

The majority of the board members of the Breeders' Cup are central Kentucky breeders who have had to weather plummeting values for bloodstock and the prospect of reduced revenue from stallion fees in the coming year.

The $5 million supplemental stakes program provides up to $100,000 in purse supplements for designated stakes races. Horses who are nominated to the Breeders' Cup are eligible to earn the purse money from the supplements, while non-nominated horses run only for the base portion of the purse.

The supplemental stakes program has existed for 13 years. In 2008, supplements were added to 100 stakes races.

The nomination fee for horses of racing age whose sires were not nominated to the Breeders' Cup will be reduced from $250,000 to $200,000, the Breeders' Cup said. For horses of racing age who were not nominated as foals but whose sires were nominated, the fee will drop from $150,000 to $100,000. Breeders' Cup said that it decided to reduce the fees as an incentive for non-nominated horses to participate in the 14 year-end races.

In addition, entry fees for all horses will be increased from 2.5 percent of the purse to 3 percent. Entries fees were reduced to 2.5 percent in 2005