07/21/2005 12:00AM

Cup race order may shift


The Breeders' Cup plans to determine the order of its eight races this year when pre-entries are released on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 10 days before the event at Belmont Park in New York on Oct. 29, the Breeders' Cup announced on Thursday.

The concept behind the plan is to allow Breeders' Cup officials to structure the race card so that multi-leg bets such as pick threes, pick fours, and the pick six will "have the most contentious fields," according to Ken Kirchner, the senior vice president of product development for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which merged with Breeders' Cup at the beginning of 2001.

"It's going to depend on the field size and the quality of the horses in the races, and we'd prefer that we don't have short fields back-to-back," Kirchner said. "We want to have the opportunity of slotting the races where it makes the most sense. Certainly, we shouldn't be locked into a race order when handicappers don't really care what order the races are in."

The only race that will not be moved will be the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, which has been held as the last of the Breeders' Cup races since the event's inception in 1984.

The NTRA's board recently set a goal to increase wagering on the Breeders' Cup to $200 million by 2010. Wagering last year was approximately $121 million.