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2008 BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TO FEATURE FIRST EVER ALL FEMALE RACE CARD DURING FRIDAY RACES
Female Championship Day to be supported by Series of on- and off-site festivities
NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2008 – The 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will card all five of its races for female horses together on the first day of the two-day event, Friday, Oct. 24, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., the Breeders’ Cup announced today. It marks the first time a major Thoroughbred event in North America has focused an entire day on female championship racing.
The 2008 Breeders’ Cup, with $25.5 million in total purses, is the 25th running of the event and will be televised live on ESPN networks, and in more than 120 countries. There will be nine Breeders’ Cup races contested on Saturday, October 25. Seven of those are open to both male and female Thoroughbreds (full list below).
Friday’s purses will now total $8 million, more than doubling last year’s Breeders’ Cup Friday purses. The Breeders’ Cup also announced that it has renamed the Breeders Cup Distaff the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. The Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic will be the premier race on the Breeders’ Cup Friday program. Since 1984 it has proven to be a definitive female championship race as 18 of its winners were named divisional champions. Two Distaff winners, Lady’s Secret (1986) and Azeri (2002), were also voted Horse of the Year. In perhaps the most dramatic race in Breeders’ Cup history, the 4-year-old filly Personal Ensign won the Distaff in 1988 to finish her career undefeated.
The Ladies Classic, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf will take place on Friday. In addition to the championship events at the track, the Breeders’ Cup plans to develop a series of Championship festivities designed to promote the new Friday format, including:
In 2007, the Breeders’ Cup crowned four female champions: Indian Blessing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Maryfield in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Lahudood (GB) in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and Ginger Punch in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“The initial response from the Breeders’ Cup family including ESPN, our marketing partners, nominators and Trustees has been extremely supportive and enthusiastic,” said Breeders Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli. “By shifting some of our traditional Saturday races to Friday, we ensure that Friday stands on its own as an international competition of the highest level. This new format provides a great stage to showcase the talents of the best female Thoroughbreds in the world.”
Breeders’ Cup officials are in discussions with several prominent non-profit women’s organizations and plan to select its partners in March.
“Combining the best of Filly racing with devoting a day to women’s health is a great development which ESPN is proud to join. The Breeders’ Cup keeps raising the bar in the presentation of world championship horse racing,” said Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisition.
Over the past three years, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships has experienced unprecedented growth, with total races expanding from eight to 14, and total purses increasing from $14 million to $25.5 million. The 2007 Breeders’ Cup at Monmouth Park marked the first time that the event was conducted as a two-day format. It consisted of 11 races and $23 million in purses. In December, the event was again expanded, as three more races were added to the program: the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Filly and Mare Turf and Distaff (now the Ladies Classic) were all held on Breeders’ Cup Saturday last year. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, run on Breeders’ Cup Friday last year, have been shifted to the Saturday program.
2008 Breeders’ Cup Schedule of Races
Friday, October 24
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Saturday, October 25
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships consisting of 14 races and $25.5 million in purses. The organization also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, and the Breeders’ Cup Stakes Program. Breeders’ Cup has offices in Lexington, Ky., and in New York City. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com.
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