In Support of the State-bred

By Teresa Genaro, Brooklyn Backstretch

This Saturday is New York Showcase Day at Belmont; seven New York-bred stakes races will be run for more than a million dollar in purses, and a variety of family-friendly activities are planned, including hay rides, face painting, and pumpkin carving. 

The prevalence of state-bred races on New York race cards is often the object of the derision of bettors, who bemoan their quality and the difficulty in handicapping them.  As a fan and a New Yorker, I welcome their presence, looking forward to Showcase Day each fall. 

Any registered New York foal with properly filed papers is eligible to run in these races, and they offer a variety of conditions:  the Maid of the Mist is for two-year-old fillies; the Mohawk is a mile and an eighth on the turf; the Empire Classic is a mile and an eighth on the dirt.  Each of the seven races' names carries with it historical, geographical, or cultural associations. 

According to Jeffrey Cannizzo, executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Showcase Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the New York breeding and racing program, offering some of the most prominent New York-bred races of the year.   Just as winners of the Breeders' Cup races often go on to win Eclipse Awards, winners of these races are often featured prominently in the end of year New York State racing awards.   

In response to those who decry the quality of New York-bred horses, Cannizzo points to the fact that through September of 2008, 25 New York-breds have won 31 stakes races outside of restricted company at 17 tracks in 10 states, Canada, and England.

One of this year's state-bred stars is Tin Cup Chalice, who raced mostly at Finger Lakes in central New York but who became the first horse to capture the Big Apple Triple--the Mike Lee at Belmont, the New York Derby at Finger Lakes, and the Albany at Saratoga-earning a $250,000 bonus for having done so.  He went on to win the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park, defeating multiple graded-stakes winner Pyro.

As a New Yorker, I'm proud of the long history of racing in this state, and it makes sense to have races that direct purse money into the breeding program, thereby strengthening it.  As a fan, I appreciate the state-bred program because it means that there are horses that I get to watch all year round.  As horses bred elsewhere jet around the country to chase purse money, or head south in the winter to enjoy warmer climes,  the state-breds I watch at Saratoga in the summer stick around to race at Aqueduct, giving me horses to root for and to head to the track to see through the  winter months.  They don't generally retire at three, so fans can enjoy them while the higher-profile horses head off to the breeding shed.  And of course, the New York State breeding program yielded Funny Cide and Commentator. 

It's great to go to the races and watch the stars race in Grade I stakes; as this week has shown, though, those stars are often around only long enough for us to get attached before they're taken off the track.  Come out to Belmont on Saturday and pick out a few horses to follow; chances are, they'll be around next year, too. 

Teresa Genaro writes about New York racing at Brooklyn Backstretch.


Leave a Comment:

Ed Zepplin

I was at santa Anita for the Cal Cup On Oct 5th and it was great. The Sprint was run in 1:07 and change! All the other divisional races were won by Very nice horses that regularly compete in open Stake competition. The state bred is a very import part of the overall economic impact on the state where they were bred, raised, trained and raced. Agribusiness is the single largest benefactor of breeding state breds. Horses bred out of state that race in other states has little economic impact on that state in comparison the the state bred.

16 Oct 2008 10:54 AM
M Lewis

I had the opportunity to meet Jeff this summer in Saratoga, and more recently at the fall Ny Bred sale. I was impressed by his knowledge and enthusiasm, he seems well on his way to attracting to the top talent to breed in NY.

16 Oct 2008 1:53 PM


NEW YORK (October 16, 2008) - The Breeders' Cup and TSN, Canada's Sports Leader, announced today that TSN will have exclusive live Canadian coverage of the 2008 Breeders' Cup World Championships on October 24 and 25 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. The 25th running of the Breeders' Cup will feature 14 races over two days with record purses of $25.5 million.

Coverage begins Friday, Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET, featuring five Breeders' Cup Championship races for female horses with purses totaling $8 million.  Friday's races mark the first time a major Thoroughbred event in North America will run an entire day of female Thoroughbred racing, culminating with the Ladies' Classic (formerly the Distaff).  The Breeders' Cup continues Saturday, Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. ET on TSN with the remaining nine races, including the Breeders' Cup Classic with its $5 million purse.  In total, TSN will televise nine hours of Breeders' Cup horseracing, the most ever in network history.

"We are excited to partner with TSN to broadcast the 2008 Breeders' Cup World Championships and ensure that horseracing fans in Canada will be able to watch every race in the 25th running," said Breeders' Cup CEO Greg Avioli.

"The Breeders' Cup is Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious event and TSN is proud to present world-class championship horseracing to fans in Canada," said Phil King, President, TSN.  "For the second year in a row, TSN's partnership with the Breeders' Cup demonstrates the network's commitment to delivering marquee sports events to viewers from coast to coast."

Breeders' Cup World Championships TV Schedule

       Date                                        Time (ET)          Event                                                      Station

       Friday, Oct. 24                   3:30-6:30 p.m.        Breeders' Cup Championship Friday        TSN

       Saturday, Oct. 25              1:00-7:00 p.m.        Breeders' Cup World Championships       TSN

16 Oct 2008 3:09 PM

The New York Showcase Day is indeed a day all New Yorkers should be proud of.  It used to be that New York bred horses were looked down upon, but that day is gone.  Many fine competitive horses are bred in New York - too many to name actually.  I salute you New York breeders!! Being a resident of the state [Maryland] that started such state bred celebratory days I am dismayed at what has happened to racing in my state.  The concept began by Jim McKay has been emulated by most racing states and has been nothing but a boon for all. New York has embraced the concept and it really helped the sport.  Again, my congratulations and support [at the betting windows].

16 Oct 2008 4:36 PM
Dreamer's Mom

State-bred programs are wonderful, but in New York and other states they run for real money.  In our state the biggest purse we get to run our state-breds for is $30,000.  Sad, isn't it?

We used to have a day that was nothing but state-bred races.  We had 14 horses in 9 races and we won a lot of them (I know, how could we not?) but now we are lucky to have 2 state-bred races in one day!  The tracks are only required to have one a day.  We will continue our breeding program, but it is very disheartening to run wide-open all the time.

16 Oct 2008 7:57 PM

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