As more and more negative reports came in over the past few weeks, you had to know this day was coming. First the return of laminitus on his left rear hoof. Then the abscess under his right rear hoof. It was more than Barbaro, and his doctors, could handle. It was a valiant effort by his doctors, his owners and, most of all, by Barbaro himself.
Many stories today:
Chronology of Barbaro’s Condition from New Bolton Center.
Breeders’ Cup, Ltd. announced Monday expansion plans for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships consisting of three new $1 million races and three other stakes races funded by the Breeders’ Cup. These races will make up a second Breeders’ Cup Day, which will be held the Friday before the main event.
The three new $1 million races will be the Dirt Mile, for three-year-olds and up, the Filly & Mare Sprint and the Juvenile Turf. All three will make their debut this year when the Breeders’ Cup is run at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. There was no word from the Breeders’ Cup or the NTRA on whether these new races will receive graded status. (All of the existing Breeders’ Cup races are Grade 1’s).
The three other races will be funded by the Breeders’ Cup at $250,000 each. They will consist of a mile and one sixteenth dirt mile for three-year-old fillies, a mile turf race for two-year-old fillies and a six furlong sprint for two-year-olds. It is reasonable to assume these races could be elevated to $1 million purses and ‘named’ status in the future.
What’s missing in this expansion is a race for turf sprinters. Turf sprints have become much more common in the U.S. in recent years. The New York Racing Association, in particular, has been writing many more turf sprints than in past years. A Turf Sprint would also help attract more international runners given the number of turf sprints run in Europe.
A solid case can be made for the Dirt Mile. There is a definate need for a race between the six furlong Sprint and the mile and one quarter Classic. Had there been a Dirt Mile in 2006, I’m sure we would have seen Discreet Cat at the Breeders’ Cup.
The need for a $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint can be debated. While the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is open to both sexes, and has been won by females three times, there were 40 graded sprints on the dirt just for females in 2006, which leads me to conclude this race will be a popular success.
Less compelling is the case for a $1 million race for two-year-olds on the turf, especially at the cost of a Turf Sprint. There were only two graded stakes races for two-year-olds on the turf in 2006 – both at Hollywood Park at the end of November. Conversely, throughout the U.S. there were nine graded sprints on the turf (all Grade 3) in 2006. Hopefully, the Breeders’ Cup will correct this oversight in the future.
In any case, this is an exciting announcement from the Breeders’ Cup and can only help increase interest in Thoroughbred horse racing.