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Turfway race added to Breeders' Cup Challenge

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 12:00 AM
  • General
CORRECTED Date Marathon to be run corrected to October 25

FLORENCE, KY . . . June 18, 2008 . . . The Turfway Park Fall Championship has been added to the Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of races designated as "Win and You're In" events for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The winner of each Challenge race earns a guaranteed berth in the corresponding Breeders' Cup championship race, with owners responsible for entry fees. With its distance increased from one mile to 1 1/2 miles, the Turfway Park Fall Championship will secure its winner a start in the Breeders' Cup Marathon, new to the Breeders' Cup World Championships in 2008.

The Turfway Park Fall Championship, which retains its Grade III designation and $100,000 purse, is scheduled this year for September 6, opening weekend of the Turfway Park fall meet. The race is carded for horses three years old and upward.

"Turfway has long prepared Breeders' Cup winners via the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions, including Spain, Boston Harbor, Reraise, Vindication, and Roses in May," said Turfway Park president Robert N. Elliston. "We are pleased that our Fall Championship now offers the same opportunity through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series. We applaud the Breeders' Cup leadership for adding a high-profile race that rewards horses bred for stamina, and we look forward to adding to the list of Breeders' Cup winners that prepped at Turfway Park."

Inaugurated in 1984, the Breeders' Cup World Championships have been expanded this year to include 14 races run over two days for purses of $25.5 million. The 2008 Breeders' Cup World Championships will be run October 24-25 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California, marking the first time the Championships' dirt races will be contested on a synthetic surface. The two-day card will be televised by ABC and ESPN.

The 1 1/2-mile Marathon carries a $500,000 purse and will run on October 25. As usual in at least a race's first year, the 2008 Marathon is ungraded.

The Breeders' Cup Challenge series this year includes 57 races, including 10 international events. The races will be variously telecast by ABC, ESPN, TVG, and HRTV to more than 120 countries.

The Turfway Park Fall Championship was first run in 1919 at Latonia Race Course, sited about 10 miles north of Turfway Park. Then called the Latonia Championship, the race was introduced by Matt Winn, who managed both Latonia and Churchill Downs after the tracks were integrated into the newly formed Kentucky Jockey Club that same year. The race was written for three-year-olds going 1 3/4 miles and replaced the Latonia Derby as the track's most important race. The Latonia Championship last ran at Latonia in 1933 and the track closed in 1939.

The Championship was revived in 1964 at a new track built five years earlier, originally also named Latonia and in 1986 renamed Turfway Park. The race has been run every year since except 1972, variously covering 1 1/18 miles (1964-1967 and 1988-2002), 1 1/16 miles (1968-1987), and one mile (2003-2007). The race was first run as a graded event in 1997.

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