Q & A on the NTRA Great State Challenge

The inaugural NTRA Great State Challenge is set to be run on December 7, 2002, at Sam Houston Race Park. The NTRA recently answered some questions about the event for the THP and its members.

THP: What is the NTRA Great State Challenge?

NTRA: Six stakes races, with purses totaling $1.65 million, to be run Dec. 7, 2002 at Sam Houston Race Park. Each race is worth $275,000 ($175,000 guaranteed, with $50,000 each from Breeders' Cup Fund and Participating State Bred Funds).

THP: What are the races?

NTRA: The races are:

  • Juvenile Fillies - 7 furlongs (dirt), two-year-old fillies / 119 pounds
  • Juvenile - 7 furlongs (dirt), two-year-old colts and geldings / 122 pounds
  • Sprint - 6 furlongs (dirt), three-year-olds and older / 3yo, 124 pounds; 4&up, 126 pounds (f&m 3-pound allowance)
  • Turf - 9 furlongs (turf), three-year-olds and older / 3yo, 123 pounds; 4&up, 126 pounds (f&m 3-pound allowance)
  • Distaff - 8.5 furlongs (dirt), three-year-old or older fillies and mares / 3yo, 120 pounds; 4&up, 123 pounds
  • Classic - 9 furlongs (dirt), three-year-old or older colts and geldings / 3yo, 123 pounds; 4&up, 126 pounds

THP: What are the conditions?

NTRA: By invitation only. No entry or starting fees. The $175,000 guaranteed to be divided: $90,000 to the winner, $30,000 to second, $17,000 to third, $10,000 to fourth, $5,500 to fifth and $2,500 to sixth through last. The $50,000 Breeders' Cup Fund monies and the $50,000 Participating State Bred Fund monies to be divided: $30,000 to the winner, $10,000 to second, $5,500 to third, $3,000 to fourth and $1,500 to fifth. Breeders' Cup Fund monies will be paid to Breeders' Cup nominated horses finishing first through fifth. The State Bred Fund monies will be paid to registered horses finishing first through fifth, representing a State in which the state breeders' organization has participated in funding.

All monies not awarded will revert back to the funding organization. Races will be limited to 14 horses, with preference as determined by a selection committee consisting of the racing secretary and stakes coordinator from the host track, one representative from the NTRA/Breeders' Cup Limited, one racing secretary each from the West Coast, Midwest, South and Northeast.

THP: How are fields selected?

NTRA: For a state to qualify a horse to run, that state's officially recognized horsemen's association must be a current dues paying member of the NTRA. The eight largest NTRA horsemen's association dues-paying members - California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Texas - will have automatic berths into the races, provided the horses meet the minimum requirements. Horsemen from Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia (Charles Town) and Ontario, Canada are also eligible to participate.

For more information contact Pam Blatz-Murff, senior vice president of Breeders' Cup Operations, at (800) 722-3287.

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