12/03/2008 1:00AM

King George gets new sponsor


Ascot Racecourse has upped the purse of its centerpiece event, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, to 1 million pounds, approximately $1.49 million, with the announcement on Wednesday that the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 contest will be sponsored through 2013 by Betfair, the worldwide betting company.

The King George, as it is commonly called, lost its 56-year sponsorship deal with DeBeers after the 2007 running when the South African diamond-mining company decided to disengage itself from racing in Britain. The most important weight-for-age event on the British racing calendar, the race was run this year without a sponsor for 850,000 pounds.

Betfair will also sponsor the track's most important steeplechase race, the Ascot Chase, and receive starting-gate branding rights on the Friday of Royal Ascot.