NTRA Announces "Great State Challenge"

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) recently announced the six-race, $1.5 million "Great State Challenge," pitting top horses representing several states in a championship-style event to be staged annually beginning next year. According to the challenge's rules, a horse from Texas will receive an automatic berth in each of the races.

The NTRA/Breeders' Cup will fund a guaranteed purse of $150,000 for each race, plus $50,000 in purses for Breeders' Cup-nominated horses. An additional $50,000 will come from each participating state's breeders' fund, to be paid to each individual state-bred horse that finishes in an awarded position, making each race worth a total of $250,000.

"The Great State Challenge offers every participant a chance to compete for substantial purse money on a national stage," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president-industry relations and marketing. "We've received input and support from virtually every sector of the industry, and we anticipate that the Challenge will evolve into a premier event on the racing calendar in a very short time."

Modeled on the World Thoroughbred Championships, the six Challenge races will be limited to 14 horses each and restricted to jurisdictions where the official horsemen's association is a dues-paying member of the NTRA. The top eight state horsemen's associations paying NTRA member dues will be guaranteed one horse in each race. Based on current dues, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Texas will receive automatic berths in the races.

The races are:

  • NTRA Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies, 7 furlongs on the dirt for two-year-olds (fillies)
  • NTRA Great State Challenge Juvenile, 7 furlongs on the dirt for two-year-olds (colts and geldings)
  • NTRA Great State Challenge Sprint, 6 furlongs on the dirt for three-year-olds and older
  • NTRA Great State Challenge Turf, 9 furlongs on the turf for three-year-olds and older
  • NTRA Great State Challenge Distaff, 8.5 furlongs on the dirt for three-year-olds and older (fillies and mares)
  • NTRA Great State Challenge Classic, 9 furlongs on the dirt for three-year-olds and older (colts, horses and geldings).

The state with the overall best performance in the challenge will receive a trophy. Points will be allocated for each race on a 10-8-6-4-2 basis, with the NTRA State Challenge Champion being the top point-holder.

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