03/15/2013 1:04PM

Breeders' Cup to provide travel allowances, reduces entry fees


Breeders’ Cup will provide travel allowances to all horses based outside of California for this year’s event and reduce the entry fee for its 14 races from 3 percent of the total purse to 2 percent, the organization announced Friday.

The moves are clearly designed to improve the organization’s relationship with trainers and owners both domestic and international in the wake of a decision several weeks ago to suspend a policy that would have banned the race-day use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide for all 14 races at the 2013 event, scheduled for Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Southern California. The decision to suspend the policy upset many international horsemen who are opposed to race-day medication use, while the initial announcement of the policy in 2011 estranged many U.S. horsemen who support the use of the drug, which is legal to administer in all U.S. racing jurisdictions on race day but banned in many foreign countries.

Breeders’ Cup has been aggressively courting international horsemen for its event for the past five years to boost the event’s standing on the world stage and draw interest from bettors in foreign jurisdictions. Domestic betting on the event has been stagnant for several years, although betting declined last year due to some short fields and the effects of Superstorm Sandy, which severely impacted handle at East Coast sites.

Under the new travel allowances, domestic horses based outside of California will receive a $10,000 shipping allowance. Horses in foreign jurisdictions will receive a $40,000 travel allowance.

Breeders’ Cup has been paying travel allowances since 2011 to horses that win one of the races leading up to the event that have been designated as Win and You’re In, which guarantees starting berths in specific Breeders’ Cup races. Those allowances were $10,000 for domestic horses and $20,000 for foreign horses. Winners of the races also were exempted from paying entry fees.

The decision to increase the travel allowance for foreign horses came 10 days after British racing authorities announced the rescheduling of six Group 1 races to be held on consecutive days at two racecourses in mid-October, beginning in 2014. The slate of races is expected to compete for horses with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe festival in France and the Breeders’ Cup.

The one-third reduction in entry fees will mean a substantial cut in expenses for the owners of Breeders’ Cup-eligible horses. For the Classic, for example, owners of horses that have not won a designated Win and You’re In for the division are required to pay $150,000 each to start, a number that will drop to $100,000 under the new policy.