07/21/2008 12:00AM

Breeders' Cup races, preps share spotlight


Highlighted by the richest running of the Breeders' Cup, the stakes schedule for the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting will feature 42 races for this year's meeting from Sept. 24 to Oct. 26.

The 14 Breeders' Cup races will be worth $25.5 million, with six races for females on Oct. 24 and eight races for males on Oct. 25.

To allow horses to prep for the Breeders' Cup, there are eight Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes on the first weekend, Sept. 27-28. All eight are part of the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program, and offer the winner a berth in the corresponding Breeders' Cup race, subject to the payment of entry fees. There are six Grade 1 races on Sept. 27, a program led by the $500,000 Goodwood Stakes for older horses over 1 1/8 miles.

From the start, the focal point of the meeting will be the Breeders' Cup. The opening day feature, the $100,000 Morvich Handicap, is a prep to the $1 million BC Turf Sprint on the hillside turf course on Oct. 25.

The California Cup program will be run on Oct. 5 to avoid conflict with the Breeders' Cup. Last year, the California Cup was run on Nov. 3, at the end of the meeting.

One Grade 3 race from 2007, the Carleton Burke Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf, is not on the schedule. The track has added the $100,000 Damascus Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs to the undercard of the Breeders' Cup program on Oct. 25.