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The Breeders' Cup Challenge, an Internet and e-mail based sweepstakes to promote the October 26th Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park, was launched today at The promotion offers participants the opportunity to win a guaranteed, $10,000 grand prize for selecting the most correct winners among the eight Breeders' Cup races. Four berths to next January's Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will also be awarded through a special "Head2Head" competition that will be contested over a four-week period. More than 50 additional prizes will be awarded to fans at other levels of game success, based on the number of winners they select.

For the "Head2Head" phase of the competition, users will be presented with a series of "Match-up" style wagers, whereby two horses are isolated and matched-up against one another within selected televised races. The competition is intended to educate consumers on the new "Head2Head" wager that will be part of the wagering menu for all eight of this year's Breeders' Cup races. For each race, users select which horse they think will finish better than the other in that given race. There will be approximately 20 "Head2Head" races in this phase of the competition, beginning the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 21, and running through Sunday, October 13th. Users accrue points based on their "Head2Head" selections, with one point awarded for each correct selection. The top four finishers at the end of the competition will be sent to Las Vegas to compete against the best handicappers in the country and over $200,000 in prize money in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship.

Shortly after the October 23rd post-position draw for the World Thoroughbred Championships, the "Pick Eight" phase of the contest will begin. Users then must make one win selection in each of the eight Breeders' Cup races by 1:00 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, October 26. The individual making the most correct selections will receive $10,000, with tiebreakers utilized in the event of a tie.

Registrants will also receive a series of customized e-mail messages about the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. The e-mails, to be written by ESPN horseracing reporter Jeannine Edwards, will include previews and recaps of key "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" races, TV schedules and other pertinent information. Two live chats-featuring ESPN horseracing analyst Randy Moss and Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker-will be conducted in October and available only to Breeders' Cup Challenge registrants.

"The Breeders' Cup Challenge is designed to engage potential new fans, enrich the Breeders' Cup experience for existing fans, introduce the new Head2Head wager and further build our growing database of horseracing's customers," said Keith Chamblin, the NTRA's senior vice president-marketing and industry relations. "We're particularly delighted this year to give away a guaranteed cash prize and provide four people with the chance to be crowned Handicapper of the Year."

From an NTRA press release. Graphic courtesy of Breeders' Cup.

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