04/25/2014 4:25PM

Breeders' Cup eliminates BC Marathon


The 2014 Breeders’ Cup will not include the Marathon, run every year at the two-day event since 2008, the organization announced late Friday.

Run at 1 3/4 miles with a purse of $500,000, the Marathon was added to the Breeders’ Cup program as a way to encourage the breeding and running of distance horses, in an era in which North American breeders have been criticized for focusing on speed. The race has often been filled with horses that are not among the top tier of horses in the country but who are long-distance specialists.

“It is our mission to conduct a racing program with competition at its highest level,” said Craig Fravel, the chief executive of the Breeders’ Cup, in a statement. “While we truly appreciate the participation of owners and trainers in the Marathon, the conditions of the race have not developed into a competition that we believe reaches the standard set by the remaining races [in the Breeders’ Cup’s year-end event].”

The Marathon, which usually kicked off the Friday card, is the second race to be discontinued by Breeders’ Cup since it expanded to 15 races in 2011. Last year, the organization dropped the Juvenile Sprint from the lineup after only two runnings.

Also on Friday, the Breeders’ Cup said that it will lower the foal nomination fee to $400 if owners nominate by Oct. 15 of their weanling year. Since 2008, the Breeders’ Cup has allowed for $400 foal nominations if the payment was made by Aug. 1. The organization will also begin to pay out stallion and nominator awards through fourth place beginning with this year’s event. The awards were previously paid out through third.

Anthony Brancato More than 1 year ago
2 miles would have been better than 1 3/4 miles (remember that NYRA's Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup was originally run at 2 miles) - and with just a $500,000 purse, there wasn't enough incentive to get quality horses to run in it.
Van Cushny More than 1 year ago
Stupid move - bring back the BC Marathon AND the BC Steeplechase!
Anthony Brancato More than 1 year ago
Maybe bring back the Marathon as a 2-mile grass race? Isn't the Melbourne Cup 2 miles on grass?
B More than 1 year ago
Good. Now they need to get rid of a few more and bring this back to an important one day event, not a watered down two event with unimportant races that have the potential to weaken the fields of the more prominent races.
Diane Hain More than 1 year ago
They introduced this race to encourage the breeding of horses with stamina, and yet the horses born in 2009 and 2010, the first years horses could have been bred specifically for this race, are only now 5 and 4! They didn't give this experiment long enough to work.
Anthony Brancato More than 1 year ago
You realize that you can encourage stamina breeding by manipulating the purse-distribution format; specifically, award separate shares of the purse for every finishing position. In a 9-horse field, for example, that would entail giving the customary 60% to the winner, 20% to 2nd, 10% to 3rd, 5% to 4th, 1.9% to 5th, 1.2% to 6th, 0.8% to 7th, 0.6% to 8th and 0.5% to 9th (each field size would have its own formula). The point being that even overmatched closers will generally pass a few tired horses in the stretch, while overmatched speed horses will nearly always finish last or next-to-last. This will make stretch-runners more valuable as purse-money-earners.
Bradford Solomon More than 1 year ago
Well its not worthy of being a BC race but it is still a fun race too handicap. Why not just run it as the BC preview or some lesser name but still have it.
Lynne Veitch More than 1 year ago
Good idea!
Anthony Brancato More than 1 year ago
That's what Santa Anita ended up actually doing.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Once again the short sighted fools that rule this industry have shown their tendency to have horseracing become akin to quarter horse racing. If they wanted a better quality field then maybe the purse should not have been less than a 1/4 of what the other races were. How long do you think it will be before the breeders cup classic goes from a 1 1/4 m race to 1 1/8m or even 1 1/16m?. How futile it is to complain that we don't breed stayers when there are no races for them to compete in. Just look at the derby field this year most of the contenders have serious distance limitations.why?.because they are by sprint sires like Henny hughes ,DWILDCAT or milers.the derby has become not a question of who is best but rather who will be left standing in the plod to the wire.and we can blame decisions like this one for that.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
ho yes I forgot one aspect keep the breeders cup in California and scrape the track so it becomes even more conducive to speed god forbid any horse is able to pass another in the stretch.Or put on a memorable display like CALIDOSCOPICO did.
julietvalcouer . More than 1 year ago
Can we trim out some of the two-year-old chaff, too? I like the idea of the marathon but even the Europeans didn't care about it. The BC needs FEWER races, not more. It's getting ridiculously long.
John Jp More than 1 year ago
Great call. Get back to the best of the best. 1 day ..and no more bogus races.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
what difference does that make to you.you don't have to bet on all the races.
Robert Banark More than 1 year ago
only memory of the marathon is macho castellano and calvin the hitman borel
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
I still say both jockeys should of been fined and suspended right on the spot and not allowed to ride in the rest of the program or the following year!
Neal Baker More than 1 year ago
Castellano nearly killed both Calvin and Martin Garcia with his reckless ride. Check the tape; he took a sharp right turn when Garcia's horse had already beat him to the spot.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
you must have missed CALIDOSCOPICOS win .one of the most memorable b.c races ever.watch it and some of this horses other wins on you tube.
Lynne Veitch More than 1 year ago
Oh their was a great one with a Johnathan Sheppard trained horse ridden by Rosemary Homeister. Forgot horse's name but it was fabulous.
Justin Glagola More than 1 year ago
It is a crying shame that American horse racing is so misguided that they eliminate one of the best betting races at the BC but also the fact that most historical and truly famous horse races around the world are run farther than 10 furlongs ie (All European countries Derbies, The ARC, Melbourne Cup...). In the U.S. there are less than 10% of all the total sanctioned horse races are longer than 10 furlongs and as an ex owner of race horses, it is easier to keep a horse in competitive racing condition going a mile or longer than it is to keep a sprint horse in the same competitive condition. It is time the people writing the condition books at the major race tracks start writing more races for 10+ furlong races and lets cut down on all of these roach races at 4, 4 1/2, 5 and 5 1/2 furlongs!
Anthony Brancato More than 1 year ago
But it's not a zero-sum game - and I've always wondered why no track has ever run 2-year-old "baby races" at 2 furlongs on the turf, when most of the tracks in Florida and California have the configurational capabilities to do so.