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|Contacts: Eric Wing, NTRA (212) 907-9283
Martha Claussen, Sam Houston Race Park (281) 807-8771
NTRA GREAT STATE CHALLENGE SET FOR DECEMBER 7 AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that the inaugural six-race, $1.5 million NTRA Great State Challenge, to be run at Sam Houston Race Park, in Houston, Texas, will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2002. Post time for the championship-style event, featuring top Thoroughbreds representing several states, has yet to be finalized, but is expected to be scheduled for early afternoon.
"The early December date should allow for fine weather in the Houston area, and also permit virtually all existing state-bred championship days to take place with a minimum of revisions to current schedules," said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president-industry relations and marketing for the NTRA. "We look forward to an outstanding day of competitive racing at a first-class facility."
"Sam Houston Race Park is proud to be the host of what promises to be one of the truly big days on the 2002 racing calendar," said Robert L. Bork, the track's senior vice president and general manager. "Along with the NTRA, we are committed to making the inaugural Great State Challenge an unqualified success."
John Deere is the presenting sponsor of the NTRA Great State Challenge as part of a new strategic marketing alliance that includes title sponsorship of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf -- now known as the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf -- and of the associated divisional turf races that lead up to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Modeled on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, the Challenge races are limited to horses from jurisdictions where the official state horsemen's association is an NTRA member. The top eight NTRA-member horsemen's associations -- California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Texas, based on current dues -- are guaranteed one horse in each race. The state with the overall best performance in the Challenge will receive a trophy. Points will be allocated for each race, with the NTRA Great State Challenge Champion being the top point-holder.
The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited will fund a guaranteed purse of $150,000 for each race, plus $50,000 in purses for Breeders' Cup-nominated horses. An additional $50,000 comes from each participating state's breeders' fund, to be paid to each individual state-bred horse that finishes in an awarded position, making each race worth as much as $250,000.
The races are:
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program, both of which are funded by the industry's owners and breeders. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site, www.ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, breederscup.com. Contact the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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