LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2016) — The Breeders' Cup announced today that the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series will consist of 77 automatic qualifying races, including four new races, into the Breeders' Cup World Championships with 49 Challenge races held in the U.S. and Canada, and 28 races to be run outside of North America. Breeders’ Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners to compete in the Championships. (Complete 2016 schedule is available at http://www.breederscup.com/races/breeders-cup-challenge.)
Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on November 4-5, and televised live in the U.S. by the NBC Sports Group.
This year, the NBC Sports Group will also televise the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In Series presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing,” featuring Challenge races across nine shows in the U.S. from June until the World Championships. (Full 2016 television schedule can be found at http://challenge.breederscup.com/schedule.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, now in its ninth year, will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in 12 countries: U.S., Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ireland, 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 also 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 a $10,000 travel allowance for winners within North America that are stabled outside of California. 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 24 to receive the rewards.
Last year, a record 39 participants in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships earned automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series with six winning their respective divisions: American Pharoah (Classic), Stephanie’s Kitten (Filly & Mare Turf), Nyquist (Sentient Jet Juvenile), Songbird (14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies), Runhappy (TwinSpires Sprint) and Catch a Glimpse (Juvenile Fillies Turf). A total of 25 Challenge-winning starters earned first- through fifth-place purse money in the 2015 World Championships.
“Over the years, horsemen around the world have realized that one of the best ways to qualify for the World Championships is through winning a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race and receiving the added benefits of an automatic starting position and free entry provided in the series,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “As we continue to encourage international participation in the Challenge series, we thank our partner race tracks and jurisdictions for their commitment in the administration and promotion of these races.”
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 18; The Gold Cup at Santa Anita Park on June 25; the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 31; the Whitney at Saratoga Race Course on August 8; the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 20; the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on October 1 and The Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on October 8.
- The series will include four new races: The Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf (G1) (Filly & Mare Turf), which was run on April 9 at Royal Randwick in Australia; Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) (Mile) at Club Hipico in Santiago, Chile on May 25; Gran Premio Pamplona at Hipodromo Monterrico (G1) (Filly & Mare Turf) in Lima, Peru on June 26 and the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (G2) (Turf Sprint) at The Curragh in Ireland on September 11.
- For the seventh 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 9 in South Africa at Kenilworth Racecourse, when Smart Call (SAF) won the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1) and qualified for an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and Legal Eagle (SAF) captured the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) and gained an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
In April at Royal Randwick in Australia, Chautauqua (AUS) won the Darley TJ Smith Stakes (G1) (Turf Sprint), Winx (AUS) won the Star Doncaster Mile (G1) (Mile), and Askandellia (NZ) won the Coolmore Legacy.
The first North American race of the series will be the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park on June 4 for an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile, followed by the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) (Dirt Mile) and the Ogden Phipps (GI) (Distaff) at Belmont Park on June 11.