That is the new number of races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships in 2011. There will be a Juvenile Sprint added to the lineup starting this year on Friday, November 4. The race will be run at six furlongs on the main track and will be open to colts, geldings, and fillies for a $500,000 purse.
I have been a supporter of cutting the Breeders' Cup races back in number to a more manageable total almost since the inception of "Filly Friday" back in 2007. Apparently, the concept of "Filly Friday" is now more or less out the window, since in addition to the new race, they also run the Breeders' Cup Marathon on the Friday schedule as well. There will be seven races total on Friday and two of them are not simply dedicated to distaff runners.
However, with that being said, I actually think this is a good addition made by the Breeders' Cup to the Championship program. Juvenile sprinters (like turf sprinters) were a division that was originally left completely out of the Breeders' Cup for too long. This could become a more realistic spot for the youngsters that just aren't ready to go two turns or whose distance limitations don't allow them to go as far as the mile and a sixteenth required for the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies races. After all, most of the Juvenile runners nowadays have a very limited number of races before the Breeders' Cup rolls around on the first weekend of November.
Now, are there too many races? Clearly, yes. There is no need for a Breeders' Cup Marathon at 1 3/4 miles and honestly, I can do without the Dirt Mile and the Filly And Mare Sprint is superfluous, in my opinion. If the juvenile fillies can sprint with the boys, then so can the older ones. Remember, there were more than the fair share of distaff winners of the Sprint before the creation of the Filly And Mare Sprint. However, I think the addition of this Juvenile Sprint race is a good move by the Breeders' Cup. I think it promises to be a fun race to watch.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!