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Posted on - 23 Feb 2013


The concept of "The Breeders Million Race" was evolved sometime in late eighties when members of the National Horse Breeding Society of India got together under the aegis of the Council Members of the National Horse Breeding Society (NHBS) of India to find ways and means to provide a boost to breeding and horse racing, as this sport, though considered to be a king of sports, was not being patronized in the manner it was being patronized in the other racing centres around the World.
After several deliberations and meetings it was decided by the NHBS of India to institute a race to be run on the lines of the Magic Million and The Cartier Million as run in Australia and Ireland respectively. The immediate outcome of this decision was to find some one who could conduct this event as also to generate a Million Rupees and who could they be but the Poonawalla Brothers, Dr Cyrus and Mr Zavaray Poonawalla.
The first sponsored Million race was run on 11 Mar 90. It is a produce race for three year olds and run over a distance of approximately 1400 meters and determines the "Leading Juvenile" in the country. 19 Runners faced the starter in its inaugural run and 'Le Gris Cheval' owned by Mr. Stock, trained by Ivor Fernandes and ridden by Bajrang Singh made to the finishing post. Poonawalla Stud Farms  had then guaranteed total stakes of Rs One Million and offered Rs.50,000/- and two International Air tickets -Bombay-London-Bombay in  'The  Free Contest of Skill"- introducing yet another feature in the races. Though this was a debut run, it changed the face of the race course providing encouragement to sponsors to go in for better and bigger things in the years to come - and which as may be seen now - has happened over last 23 years.
Having had a tremendous response in the very first year, Dr. Cyrus &Mr. Zavaray, both ardent lovers of horses, and Mrs Behroze Zavaray Poonawalla, with  a flair for fashion,· beauty, charm and style, set their sight in making the event a house hold name. In order to ensure this they decided to make the PBMM day, a day full of fun, frolic and enjoyment for anyone who came to the races. It meant involvement of everyone in the proceedings of the day at the race course. The Poonawalla family achieved this by introducing, almost every year, new innovative activities wherein everyone who was at the races was involved. There was gradual increase in stakes money and  this year with Poonawallas  contributing Rs.4.2 Million and also  guaranting total stakes of Rs. Fifteen Million and with Rs.Five lacs added from the fund the winner is expected to go with a loaded purse. The Breeders’ have also collectively contributed Rs.29.81 lacs through entry fee. Prizeswere also improved in "The Free Contest of Skill" from Cash to a Car and several other attractive prizes were added.
With Mrs. Behroze Poonawalla's personal attention to details and to new additions, the race saw introduction of awards to the best dressed lady, best dressed gentlemen and for the best hat on the race course on the Million Day. With all these attractions, the race today has acquired brand equity of its own and is often spoken of as Juvenile Derby.
On 20th Mar 1994, the race achieved Grade3 status.15  runners faced the starter - net stakes were Rs 14,14,400/-. 'Brave Hunter' owned by Dr.& Mrs C A Naterwalla and  Ms Laila C Naterwalla, trained by Dallas Todywalla and ridden by K Fallon won by 3/4th length from 'Flashpoint’ ridden by J Fortune
The race then achieved Grade 2 status and on 26 Feb 1995 'Winning Pretty' ridden by J Lowe for Mr.Feroze Khan and Mrs Dhanraj Gir, trained by Mr S Padmanabhan won the race in a magnificent style from other 13 who faced starter.
The following year saw the race being upgraded to Grade 1 status. And in its new Avatar, on 26 Feb 1996, 'Lei'  ridden by Malesh Narredu ,owned by  Mr and  Mrs. K N Dhunjibhoy representing Five Star Shipping Co. Ltd., Maj  P K Mehra and Ms Ameeta Mehra, trained by C D Katrak won the race by 2 1/2 lengths. 16 runners faced the starter and stakes were Rs 24,06,950.
In the twenty second year the Poonawalla family added one more milestone in their activities on the Multi Million day. For the well being of humanity, apart from their own contribution, they decided to render whole hearted support to the Indian Cancer Society in permitting them to show case their activities at the race course in detection and prevention of cancer as also to raise funds.
This year the Poonawalla Stud Farms are contributing Rs 4.2 Million of which Rs 2.4 Million, as indicated above, will be towards stakes and balance towards prizes and trophies. The Poonawalla Stud Farms are also guaranteeing total stakes of Rs Fifteen Million.
The prizes in the Contest of Skill have also been upgraded. The first prize along with three other prizes will be Volkswagen Vento car this year. 

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