Cranbury, NJ...With the February 15 payment deadline approaching for many stake events, the Breeders Crown, which is administered by the Hambletonian Society has important changes. Because of the federal holiday on Monday, payments for all Hambletonian-Society serviced stakes must be postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, February 18, per USTA rule 12, section 4.
The $5 million Breeders Crown series will celebrate its 30-year anniversary over two nights - Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ.
The $500,000 Breeders Crown Trot and Pace for 3-year-old fillies, and a pair of $250,000 Crowns for Mare pacers and trotters will be raced on Friday night. All four $500,000 Two-Year-Old events, the $500,000 sophomore colt pace and trot and the $400,000 Crown Pace and $500,000 Crown Trot will be raced on Saturday night.
Breeders Crown purses are derived from stallion nominations, yearling nomination fees, eligibility and sustaining payments and supplemental fees. For multiple reasons, including across the board reduction of stud fees, the contraction important breeding markets like Ontario and New Jersey, a restriction on 4-year-olds going to stud and generally fewer mares being bred, the Breeders Crown stallion fund has dropped drastically over the past two years.
Though contributory fees from breeding farms that stand stallions with stud fees of $10,000 or more were raised for the breeding season of 2014, payment schedule and purses for some of the 12 traditional Breeders Crown divisions of age, gender and gait had to be altered as well.
The four two-year-old races will continue to race for $500,000 and will have no payment increase except in the two-year-old future eligibility fee to remain eligible to race at three, which was raised from $350 to $500 and is due March 15.
No changes were made to the three-year-old purse schedule or payment fees and no changes were made to the payment schedule for mares to remain eligible to the open mare trot and pace.
Eligible horses to the Breeders Crown open races for horses and geldings now require a $1,500 payment on April 15 in addition to the February and March 15 payments of the same amount. The starting fee was lowered to $8,000 in line with the purse.
Stallion nomination remains the key to eligibility for all Crown races, but in the rare case that horses by nominated stallions have not been kept eligible by yearling or supplemental payments along the way, those horses will now pay a supplemental fee of $500 on February 15 to access eligibility to the program. Mares can pay a $250 supplemental fee.
Lastly, the yearling nomination fee due May 15, 2014 was increased from $100 to $150.
"The Breeders Crown committee of the Hambletonian Society looked long and hard at how to make these changes equitable for breeders and owners, " said Tom Charters, the Society president.
"We are very sensitive to the cost of breeding and staking horses. The Breeders Crown 30-year brand remains one of the richest and most prestigious in harness racing and we felt it important to maintain the series in the ever-shifting landscape that is current day stakes racing. Our purses remain among the highest in all divisions, but winning a Breeder Crown is about much more than money," continued Charters.
The Hambletonian Society services 137 stakes and complete race conditions, payment forms and much more information is available online at www.Hambletonian.org.
For more information call the Society offices at 609-371-2211.
by Moira Fanning for the Breeders Crown