Claiborne Farm has picked up the sponsorship of Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity on Oct. 4. The 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds is contested annually in the fall and will return to a dirt surface this year following the removal of Polytrack at the Lexington race course.
The purse for the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity will increase from $400,000 to $500,000 in 2014. The grade I race is a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
“We are excited to partner with Keeneland for the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity,” Claiborne President Walker Hancock said. “This race is entrenched deep in Claiborne’s history as we have owned or co-owned the winner of the race five times. We look forward to the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity becoming the marquee prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.”
Most recently, the race was sponsored by Dixiana Farm for several years. Lane’s End Farm preceded as sponsor for many years.
Keeneland will put in bid to host the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, which, if granted, would add importance to the race that year.
Keeneland will celebrate the 101st running of the Breeders’ Futurity this fall. Johnstown and Whirlaway won the first and third editions of the Breeders’ Futurity in 1938 and 1940, respectively, and went on to win the Kentucky Derby as 3-year-olds. Among the other champions to capture the Breeders’ Futurity are Tasso (1985), Boston Harbor (1996) and Favorite Trick (1997). All three followed their Breeders’ Futurity wins with victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
Claiborne has recorded more wins in the Breeders’ Futurity than any other owner – with Horse of the Year Round Table (1956), Duel (1963), Dike (1968), champion Swale (1983) and champion Forty Niner (1987).
“The story of Keeneland and the Breeders’ Futurity is intertwined with Claiborne,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “It is so fitting that they be associated with the Breeders’ Futurity given the Claiborne champions who have graced its history.”
Claiborne’s Arthur B. Hancock Jr. was a founding member of Keeneland, and Claiborne remains a prominent Keeneland sales consignor. The farm, one of the sport’s most storied Thoroughbred breeding and racing operations, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010.
Edited Keeneland release