LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2015) — The Breeders' Cup announced today that the official 2015 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series schedule consisting of 78 automatic qualifying races , including eight new races, into the Breeders' Cup World Championships with 50 Challenge races held in the US and Canada. Breeders’ Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners to compete in the Championships. (Complete 2015 schedule is available at https://members.breederscup.com/challenge/schedule.aspx)
Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 32nd Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held for the first time at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington on October 30-31, and will be televised live in the US by the NBC Sports Group.
On April 8, 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 10 shows on NBC and NBCSN from top tracks in the U.S. from June until the World Championships. (The US television schedule is at http://challenge.breederscup.com/)
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, now in its ninth 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky. The Challenge winner must already be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be done by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 19 to receive the rewards.
Last year, 37 participants in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships earned automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. Bayern (Classic), Main Sequence (Turf), Work All Week (Sprint) and Goldencents (Dirt Mile) were Challenge qualifiers who won World Championships races.
“The Breeders’ Cup Challenge has grown into a prominent international series with highly competitive qualifying for the Championships throughout the year on five continents,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. “Horsemen around the world continue to take advantage of the series’ benefits of automatic starting positions, free entry and the travel allowances to gain a spot in a Breeders’ Cup race. We also greatly appreciate the commitment and enthusiasm from our partner tracks in their conduct and promotion of the series.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s Challenge series are as follows:
- There will be seven automatic berths awarded for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, all grade I races: The Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 13; The Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 27; the William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on August 2; the Whitney Handicap from Saratoga Racetrack on August 8; the TVG Pacific Classic from Del Mar on August 22; the Awesome Again Stakes from Santa Anita Park (TBD) and The Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park on October 3.
- The series will include eight new races: the Gran Premio Criadores at Palermo in Argentina (Distaff); the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) (Distaff) the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) at Goodwood in England (Mile); the Sword Dancer (G1) (Turf) and the Spinaway (G1) (Juvenile Fillies) at Saratoga, the Princess Rooney Handicap (G2) (Filly & Mare Sprint), the Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) (Sprint) and the T. Von Zastrow Stutenpreis (G2) from Baden Baden in Germany (Filly & Mare Turf).
- For the sixth 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 10 in South Africa at Kenilworth Racecourse, when Futura (SAF) won the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1) and qualified for an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and Inara (SAF) captured the Main Chance Farm Paddock Stakes (G1) and gained an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Earlier this week in Australia at Royal Randwick, Chautauqua (AUS) won the TJ Smith Stakes (G1) (Turf Sprint) and Kermadec (NZ) won the Doncaster Mile (G1) (Mile).
The first two North American races of the series will be run on June 6 with the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) (Dirt Mile) and the Ogden Phipps (GI) (Distaff) at Belmont Park, and will be televised live on NBCSN.