04/29/2002 12:00AM

Fish chain is new Cup sponsor

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Long John Silver's, the fast-food fish restaurant chain, has signed a deal to sponsor the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies through 2004, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday.

Long John Silver's will join three other Breeders' Cup title sponsors: John Deere, Penske Auto Centers, and Bessemer Trust. Unlike those three sponsors, however, Long John Silver's will not sponsor a series of divisional races leading up to the Breeders' Cup race.

Details were not disclosed, but the typical value of a Breeders' Cup title sponsorship is approximately $1 million per year, NTRA officials have said.

The sponsorship announcement comes two weeks after the NTRA said that Penske Auto Centers was trying to unload its two-year sponsorship agreement on another subsidiary of the large, privately held Penske company. Penske Auto Centers recently announced that it was closing all of its stores.

Long John Silver's will also sponsor two television programs, the CBS Summer Racing Series and "Wire to Wire," a half-hour weekly horse racing show on ESPN, previously called "Racehorse Digest," to debut on Thursday, May 2.