Breeders' Cup and NBC Sports Announce 2019 Breeders' Cup Challenge Television Schedule
New York (April 10, 2019) – The Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports today announced the 2019 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing” television schedule, consisting of 11 live programs featuring more than 20 automatic qualifying races, and other major stakes, from seven of the nation’s premier racetracks on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Now in its sixth year on NBC and NBCSN, the series showcases the top horses as they vie for a coveted automatic berth, and free entry, into the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 1-2, which will also be televised live by NBC Sports.
The 2019 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing” begins during NBC Sports’ coverage of Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 8, with the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and the Ogden Phipps (G1) live from Belmont Park, for automatic berths into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, respectively.
The series continues the following week with the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs, which is the first of five televised qualifying races for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Stephen Foster telecast will also include live coverage of the Fleur de Lis (G2), which is an automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Following the June 15 show, six of the next nine programs will be on NBC during the summer and fall, beginning with the July 6 broadcast of Belmont Derby (G1), Belmont Oaks (G1) and the “Win and You’re In” John A. Nerud Stakes (G3) (formerly the Belmont Sprint Championship) at Belmont Park, for a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Two telecasts featuring Classic division races will be shown next; the TVG.com Haskell Invitational (G1) from Monmouth Park on July 20 and the Whitney (G1) from historic Saratoga Race Course on August 3. Five Whitney winners - Awesome Again, Invasor (ARG), Blame, Fort Larned and Gun Runner - went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The scene stays at Saratoga the following week on NBC with the one-mile Fourstardave Handicap (G1) on turf, a new race to the series, which gives the winner an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Two of the last three winners of the Fourstardave, Tourist (2016) and World Approval (2017), went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile champions Wise Dan and Da Hoss also won the Fourstardave.
On September 7, NBC will televise another new Challenge Series race, the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park, with the winner receiving a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The Jockey Club Derby will be the final race of the Belmont “Turf Trinity” for 3-year-old males. Bonus coverage will also include the Jockey Club Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, which will conclude Belmont’s “Triple Tiara” series.
Two weeks later on Saturday, September 21, the action moves to Philadelphia for Pennsylvania Derby Day at Parx Racing, when the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion Stakes (G1), for 3-year-old fillies, a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Distaff, will be broadcast on NBC. The 2014 Cotillion winner, Untapable, won the Longines Distaff later that year. Two Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winners, My Miss Aurelia and Songbird, also won the Cotillion. The broadcast will also include the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1), for 3-year-olds, which will likely produce starters in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
On September 28, there will be a live, 2 ½ hour telecast of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races from Santa Anita Park, highlighted by the Awesome Again Stakes (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which was won by eventual 2018 Classic winner Accelerate. Among the other races shown that day will be the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1), which will award an automatic berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. will be the site for back-to-back programs that will close out the Challenge Series on October 5-6. The featured event on the October 5 NBCSN telecast will be the $1 million Shadwell Mile (G1), with the winner gaining a free berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The following day, Keeneland will host the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (G3) and Juddmonte Spinster (G1) in a 90-minute program that will also feature highlights from Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Day at ParisLongchamp in France, which will include five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races.
“NBC Sports continues to be the leader in televising the best in domestic and international Thoroughbred racing and we are delighted to partner with them again to deliver our fans the best in Breeders’ Cup Challenge races throughout the summer and fall leading to the World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “We also thank our participating racetracks in the 2019 series and the support of our presenting sponsor America’s Best Racing.”
“From Belmont Stakes Day all the way through to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in November, we are excited to showcase the world’s top horses in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports & NBCSN.
The complete Challenge Series television schedule can be viewed here.
To keep fans informed on the broadcast series schedule, Breeders’ Cup again is providing an “Add to Calendar” feature that allows fans to easily add the complete Breeders’ Cup Challenge and Championships NBC Sports television schedule to their calendar. The calendar will automatically provide broadcast reminders including tune-in information and NBC and NBCSN channel numbers specific to fans’ locations and cable providers. Fans can click here for more information and to add to their calendar now.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series coverage on NBC and NBCSN will be live streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
About NBC SPORTS GROUP
NBC Sports Group serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital, which includes NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com, GolfChannel.com, the digital assets of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, Rotoworld, the NBC Sports Talk franchise, multiple apps, and two transactional sports businesses, GolfNow and SportsEngine. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: The International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, INDYCAR, PGA TOUR, The R&A, PGA of America, Churchill Downs, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, and many more.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Graded Stakes with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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