07/31/2003 11:00PM

Great State Challenge cut

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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association scrapped plans to run the Great State Challenge in 2003 because of an inability to find a sponsor for the event.

The Great State Challenge, a one-day, six-race event designed to pit horses from different states against each other and reward state breeding associations, was first held in December of last year. The decision to cancel this year's event was made at an NTRA board meeting held via teleconference Friday.

NTRA officials have been attempting to find a sponsor for the Great State Challenge for the past two months in an effort to salvage the event for this year. But those efforts have been unsuccessful.

The event may be renewed in 2004, NTRA officials said, if a sponsor can be signed up.

The first Great State Challenge, held at Sam Houston Race Park, attracted 46 horses for six races, or slightly less than eight horses per race. Representatives of state breeding associations said the timing of the event made it difficult to attract many horses.