Horses

Breeders’ Cup Classic, Turf get larger purses

American Pharoah with Victor Espinoza up won the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday October 31, 2015.
American Pharoah with Victor Espinoza up won the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday October 31, 2015. Lexington

The purse for the Breeders’ Cup Classic will increase to $6 million while the Breeders’ Cup Turf is boosted to $4 million this year, officials with Breeders’ Cup Ltd. announced Monday.

These will be the first purse increases on any of the Breeders’ Cup races since 2006. From 2006 through 2015 the Breeders’ Cup Classic was contested for a purse of $5 million and the Turf carried a $3 million purse. In 2007, the Breeders’ Cup expanded to a two-day event and added three races to the card but purses for the existing championship races remained the same.

Total purses and awards for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup, which includes 13 Grade I races held over two days, will be a record $28 million when the event is held at Santa Anita Park this November 4-5.

First-place prize for this year’s 1 ¼-mile Classic will be $3,300,000, and the first-place prize for the 1 ½-mile Turf will be $2,200,000.

In addition to the increase in purses, Breeders’ Cup will now pay down to the eighth finish position on every race, increasing the number of horses who receive purse distributions from 40 percent of starters to 65 percent. Every international starter will receive $40,000 as a shipping stipend, and North American starters stabled outside of California will receive $10,000.

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course was won by eventual Horse of the Year American Pharoah, who had previously become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years. The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf featured a thrilling international duel, as the determined filly Found upset Golden Horn, the European Horse of the Year, by a half-length.

“In our efforts to provide our horsemen and fans with the best product in international racing, we are pleased to announce purse increases for both the Classic and the Longines Turf beginning with this year’s event at Santa Anita,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “Since our inception, one of the founding principles of the Breeders’ Cup has been to offer unprecedented purses on our races as incentive to keep the stars of our sport on the track and extend their racing careers. While the Classic and the Turf mark our first purse increases to individual races since 2006, our goal is to continue to find ways to raise purse levels on our races in the future.”

The first of seven Breeders’ Cup Challenge series automatic qualifying races for the Classic will be this Saturday at Churchill Downs with the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap. Effinex, runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, is among those expected to start.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: 859-231-1676, @horseracinghl

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