04/25/2014 3:25PM

Breeders' Cup eliminates BC Marathon

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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.