02/25/2009 1:00AM

Breeders' Cup nominations decline


Breeders nominated 14,602 foals to the Breeders' Cup in 2008, according to the organization, an 8.9 percent decline compared to foal nominations in 2007.

Though the decline was steep, Breeders' Cup's senior vice president of nominations, Dora Delgado, said that the organization had budgeted for a larger drop. The percentage of the foal crop that was nominated, Delgado said, was 49.7 percent in 2008, compared to 50.8 percent in 2007.

"We continue to believe that the $500 nomination fee, which has remained constant since foal nominations were first accepted in 1983, provides great value to participating horsemen," Delgado said in a prepared statement.

Breeders' Cup has estimated that its revenues will drop approximately 20 to 25 percent because of the recession, a declining foal crop, and significant cuts in stud fees. Breeders' Cup also collects nomination fees from stallions to make the stallions' foals eligible for the program, and those nominations are based on stud fees.

With a $10 million expected shortfall in revenues in 2009, Breeders' Cup officials have said that the organization will likely sell securities in its investment portfolio to make up for the deficit. The organization had earlier suspended a $5 million supplementary stakes program as a way to cut into the deficit, but it reversed that decision when faced with criticism by many breeders.