02/01/2011 5:53PM

Breeders' Cup starts open enrollment

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Breeders' Cup on Tuesday began accepting nominations from horse owners at a fraction of the usual cost through a five-month program that is being offered in conjunction with sweeping changes to its international nomination system.

Under the open-enrollment program, owners of yearlings will be able to nominate their horses to the Breeders' Cup for $3,000. Two-year-olds will be able to be nominated for $6,000, and horses who are 3 years old or older will be able to be nominated for $25,000. The program, which is limited to horses who are by Breeders' Cup-nominated stallions, ends on June 30.

To be eligible for Breeders' Cup races, owners are typically required to pay a $500 fee in the year the horse is born. Horses who aren't nominated as foals have been able to be made eligible for the Breeders' Cup races only by paying fees ranging from $100,000 to $200,000, depending on whether the horse's sire was nominated.

Last year, Breeders' Cup revamped its nomination program for horses based outside of the United States and Canada by eliminating foal nominations, in an attempt to get greater participation from overseas horse owners. At the time the changes were announced, Breeders' Cup said that it would launch the open-enrollment program in 2011 to encourage additional participation from North American owners as well.