LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 24, 2014) — The Breeders' Cup announced today that the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series will consist of 73 automatic qualifying races into the Breeders' Cup World Championships with 46 Challenge races to be held in the US and Canada. Breeders’ Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners outside of California to compete in the Championships. (The complete 2014 schedule is available at https://members.breederscup.com/challenge/schedule.aspx)
Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 31st Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on October 31-November 1, and will be televised live in the US by the NBC Sports Group. The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be shown live in primetime on NBC from 8-9 p.m. ET on Nov. 1.
On April 21, Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports announced an expanded partnership to televise “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In”, a series of 18 Challenge races across 11 shows on NBC and NBCSN from top tracks in the U.S. from June until the World Championships. (View the US television schedule at http://challenge.breederscup.com)
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, now in its eighth year, will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in 13 countries: US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Peru and South Africa.
As part of the enhanced benefits to horsemen in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for winners of all Challenge races.
Breeders’ Cup will provide travel allowances to all starters outside of California for this year’s Championships including Challenge race winners. Breeders’ Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of each Challenge winner from outside of North America and in North America, a $10,000 travel allowance for winners stabled outside of California. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 20 to receive the rewards.
Last year, 36 participants in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships earned automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. Mucho Macho Man (Classic); Beholder (Distaff); Dank (Filly & Mare Turf) and Wise Dan (Mile) were Challenge qualifiers who won World Championships races.
“The Breeders’ Cup Challenge series continues to be an excellent path for horsemen to secure an automatic starting berth, with fees paid, for their runners to qualify into the Championships,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. “We were very proud of the large number of Challenge starters that competed in last year’s event, and are looking forward to attracting more horses this year as we welcome our new racetrack partners who have joined the series for the 2014 season.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s Challenge series are as follows:
- There will be a record seven automatic berths awarded for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, all grade I races: The Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 14; The Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28; the William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 27; the Whitney Handicap from Saratoga Racetrack on August 2; the TVG Pacific Classic from Del Mar on August 24, and The Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park and the Awesome Again Stakes from Santa Anita Park, both on September 28. Defending Classic champion Mucho Macho Man earned an automatic berth by winning last year’s Awesome Again.
- The series will include 11 new races: the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1), run Jan. 11 at Kenilworth in South Africa (Filly & Mare Turf); Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia run April 14 (Turf); Grande Premio Brasil (G1) (Turf) at Hipodromo de Gavea in Brazil on June 8; Clasico Cesar del Rio (G3) (Distaff) at Hipódromo de Monterrico on June 22 in Peru; Copa De Oro Vinas De Chile (G2) (Dirt Mile) at Club Hipico de Santiago in Chile on June 27; The Gold Cup at Santa Anita (GI) (Classic) on June 28; William Hill Haskell Invitational (GI) (Classic) at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on July 27; Belmont Oaks at Belmont Park on July 5 (Filly & Mare Turf); Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (G1) (Filly & Mare Turf) at Leopardstown in Ireland on September 13; Juddmonte International at York (Turf) on September 20 and the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (G2) at Newmarket in England (Juvenile Fillies Turf) on September 27.
- For the fifth consecutive year, the Breeders’ Cup will pay foal nominators of Challenge winners a $10,000 award.
The international portion of the series began on January 11 in South Africa at Kenilworth Racecourse, when the 7-year-old mare Beach Beauty (SAF) won the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1) and qualified for an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and the 5-year-old Capetown Noir (SAF) captured the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) and gained a free start into the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
In Australia this month, three more horses earned automatic berths at Royal Randwick: Lankan Rupee (AUS) winner of the Darley TJ Smith Stakes (G1) (Turf); Sacred Falls (NZ) winner of the Doncaster Mile (G1) (Mile) and It’s A Dundeel who captured the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) (Turf).
The first two North American races of the series will be run on June 7 with the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) (Dirt Mile) and the Ogden Phipps (GI) (Distaff) at Belmont Park, and will be televised live on NBCSN.