The Breeders' Cup announced Monday an initiative to draw in more foreign-bred horses to the annual Thoroughbred championships. Typically, less than 2 percent of international Thoroughbreds are eligible to run in the races, which require that the sire and the foal be nominated with appropriate fees paid.
Beginning next year, the Breeders' Cup will reduce the nomination fee to 50 percent of the published stud fee for Northern Hemisphere stallions outside of North America and to 25 percent of the published stud fee for Southern Hemisphere stallions.
Breeders' Cup also is subsidizing its Challenge series: Horses that win one of the "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge races will have entry fees and travel costs paid, and $10,000 will be awarded to the nominator (usually the breeder) of any Cup-eligible North American foal that wins a Challenge race. This year, there were 66 Challenge races.
Breeders' Cup officials announced the changes at a news conference at Keene land. To jump-start next year's entries, they also are offering an "open enrollment" in 2011 at special rates for previously ineligible horses, whether they were bred in the United States or elsewhere.
"While some of these initiatives are targeted at the overseas market, we believe that building our global Championships and strengthening the Breeders' Cup's international brand will directly support a stronger U.S. commercial Thoroughbred breeding and racing market," Breeders' Cup chairman Bill Farish said in a news release.
More foreign horses generally means more international interest in betting on the two-day championships, which will be at Churchill Downs this year and next year.
According to the Breeders' Cup, international wagering on the championships has increased by 110 percent, from $11 million to $23 million, during the past five years.