06/07/2005 11:00PM

NYRA joins proposed race series

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The New York Racing Association has signed an agreement with the Thoroughbred Championship Tour to commit NYRA races to a proposed racing series beginning in 2006, the two organizations announced Wednesday.

The agreement, the first signed by a racing association with the tour organizers, designates 15 graded stakes at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course to the series, which would award bonuses to owners based on the performances of their horses in designated races over five summer and fall weekends in 2006.

Tour organizers are asking owners to put up $25 million in seed money for the series for the first five years. The money would fund multimillion-dollar bonuses, supplement purses, and provide national television coverage.

Last week, the tour signed an agreement with Breeders' Cup Ltd. to provide $3 million in funding each year for five years.