LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Breeders' Cup will maintain funding levels for its stakes program at North American tracks beyond 2009.
The organization had previously refused to make a long-term financial commitment to the series, which currently affects 121 races at about 40 racetracks, because of the economic downturn.
But during a special meeting of the board on Wednesday, it was decided that the Breeders' Cup program purses will remain at their current level of US$25.5 million. It also ruled that the Breeders' Cup, scheduled for November at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., will follow the two-day, 14-race format that launched in 2008.
Last December, the Breeders' Cup said it was going to cut funding to the series, but quickly reversed its decision after the industry complained.
''We also want to send a strong signal that the board has heard our nominators loudly and clearly, and we will continue to support the Stakes Program in the foreseeable future,'' cup chairman William S. Farish Jr. said. ''Our multiple constituents look to the Breeders' Cup to be a strong leader, and we plan to do everything it takes to meet that obligation.''
The stakes program was established essentially as a way to provide Breeders' Cup support to other races in North America throughout the year, and it has had the effect of boosting the purses and the stature of many of them.