Breeders' Cup Challenge

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The Breeders' Cup Challenge is a series of Thoroughbred horse races in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, South Africa and South America, in which the winner earns an automatic spot in a specified Breeders' Cup race. The challenge races change somewhat each year.

The Challenge series began in 2007 with 24 "Win and You're In" races from 2 countries. By 2014, the series had grown to 71 races across 13 countries. During that period, 24 winners of Breeders' Cup races had qualified via the challenge series.[1]

Starting in 2011, the Breeders' Cup also pays the entry fee and provides a travel allowance for the connections of the challenge race winners.[2] For 2018, NBC Sports Group will both broadcast and live stream eleven shows, from June to October, covering many of the "Win and You're In" challenge races.[3]

Current challenge series[edit]

The 2019 Breeders' Cup Challenge series consists of 86 races, 64 of which are Grade/Group One, from across 11 countries. There are 7 new races: the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini(Turf), Prix Morny (Juvenile Turf Sprint), Fourstardave (Mile), Jockey Club Derby (Turf), the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (Turf Sprint), Cotillion (Distaff), Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp (Turf Sprint) and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Turf). The following races were removed from the series: Doncaster Mile, Legacy Stakes, Gran Premio 25 de Mayo, Highlander, Forego, Spinaway, and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. The International Stakes, formerly a qualifier for the Turf, is now the first ever European qualifier for the Classic.[4]

The Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini, run in December, is a qualifier for the following year's Breeders' Cup event. The 2018 winner, Il Mercata, thus qualified for the 2019 Breeders' Cup Turf.[4]

Past challenge series[edit]

The 2007 series consisted of 24 races held at 6 different racetracks in the United States and Canada. Fourteen of the series winners later raced in the Breeders' Cup, with four of them winning: War Pass in the Juvenile, Ginger Punch in the Distaff, English Channel in the Turf and Curlin in the Classic.[5]

2012[edit]

For 2012, the series consisted of 73 races in 10 countries, 52 of which were Grade / Group One events. Thirteen races were added to the series: the (South African) Queen’s Plate, Gran Premio 25 de Mayo, Stephen Foster Handicap, Personal Ensign, Grosser Preis von Baden, Gallant Bloom, Pilgrim, Miss Grillo, Bourbon, Royal Lodge, Middle Park, Beresford, and the Prix de la Foret.[6]

Forty-five horses entered in the 2012 Breeders' Cup races qualified via the challenge series, including seven of the winners. These were:[7]

2013[edit]

For 2013, nine races were added to the series: the Triple Bend Handicap, Bing Crosby, Yorkshire Oaks, Lowther Stakes, Pat O’Brien, Juvenile Trial, Pocahontas, Iroquois and Canadian Stakes. A number of races that had previously been part of the series were dropped.[8]

Thirty-six horses entered in the 2013 Breeders' Cup races qualified via the challenge series, including four of the winners. These were:[9][10]

2014[edit]

For 2014, seven new races were added to the series: the Paddock Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Grande Premio Brasil, Clasico Cesar del Rio, Copa De Oro Vinas De Chile, The Gold Cup at Santa Anita, Haskell Invitational, Belmont Oaks, Matron Stakes, Juddmonte International and Rockfel Stakes. NBC broadcast 18 of the races.[11]

Thirty-seven horses entered in the 2014 Breeders' Cup races qualified via the challenge series, including four of the winners. These were:[12]

2015[edit]

For 2015, eight new races were added to the series: the Gran Premio Criadores, Fleur de Lis Handicap, Sussex Stakes, Sword Dancer Invitational, Spinaway, Princess Rooney Handicap, Smile Sprint Handicap, and T. Von Zastrow Stutenpreis. Eighteen races in the series were telecast by NBC.[13]

Thirty-seven entrants in the 2015 Breeders' Cup qualified via the Challenge series with six winning their respective divisions, including American Pharoah.[14]

2016[edit]

For 2016, a total of seven races were added to the Challenge series. Four were added in April when the initial announcement was made: the Queen of the Turf (which replaced the Queen Elizabeth Stakes), the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella, the Gran Premio Pamplona and the Flying Five Stakes.[15] Three more races from Japan were added in June: the February Stakes, the Yasuda Kinen and the Sprinter Stakes.[16]

Forty-five entrants in the 2016 Breeders' Cup qualified via the Challenge series.[17] Two Challenge series winners went on to win their respective division at the Breeders' Cup: Highland Reel and Classic Empire.

2017[edit]

On April 12, 2017, the Breeders Cup organization announced that the 2017 Breeders' Cup Challenge would consist of 81 races from 13 countries. Three races were added to the series: the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes, the Highlander Stakes and the First Lady Stakes.[18] The Gold Cup at Santa Anita, Belmont Oaks and Canadian Stakes were excluded from the series.

Five winners of Challenge series races went on to win their respective division at the Breeders' Cup:[19][20]

  • Gun Runner, who won the Classic, automatically qualified by winning both the Stephen Foster and Whitney Handicap
  • Forever Unbridled won the Distaff after automatically qualifying with victories in both the Fleur de Lis and Personal Ensign
  • Rushing Fall qualified in the Jessamine Stakes then went on to win the Juvenile Turf
  • Roy H won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and the Sprint
  • World Approval won both the Woodbine Mile and Breeders' Cup Mile

2018[edit]

The main change for the 2018 series was the addition of four "win and you're in" races from Royal Ascot: the Queen Anne Stakes providing a berth in the Mile division; the Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1) in the Turf; the Norfolk Stakes in the new Juvenile Turf Sprint; and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in the Turf Sprint.[21] The Jaipur Invitational was also added as a qualifier for the Turf Sprint. The following races were removed from the series: the TJ Smith (Turf Sprint), the Smile Sprint (Sprint), the T. Von Zastrow Stutenpreis (Filly & Mare Turf) and the Grosser Preis von Baden (Turf).[22] On June 25, three more races were added to the challenge series as qualifiers for the Juvenile Turf Sprint. These were the Futurity at Belmont Park, the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland and a new race at Santa Anita,[23] subsequently named the Speakeasy Stakes.

Five automatic qualifiers also won their division of the Breeders' Cup: Sistercharlie (Filly & Mare Turf), Accelerate (Classic), Game Winner, Roy H (Sprint) and Jaywalk (Juvenile Fillies).

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Breeders' Cup Challenge Infographic". breederscup.com. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. ^ "2016 Breeders' Cup Challenge Features 59 Grade/Group 1 Races in 12 Countries". www.breederscup.com. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Breeders' Cup and NBC Sports Group Announce 2018 Breeders' Cup Challenge Television Schedule | Breeders' Cup". www.breederscup.com. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Breeders' Cup Announces Challenge Series Schedule". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Breeders' Cup Challenge". www.twinspires.com. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Breeders' Cup Expands Challenge Series to 73". breederscup.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Breeders' Cup makes changes to Challenge schedule - Handicappers' Edge". www.brisnet.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Breeders' Cup makes changes to Challenge schedule - Handicappers' Edge". www.brisnet.com. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  9. ^ "2014 Breeders' Cup Challenge Features 55 Group/Grade 1 Races in 13 Countries". www.breederscup.com. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Full Entries, Morning Line Odds Set for 2013 Breeders' Cup - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report". www.paulickreport.com. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  11. ^ "2014 Breeders' Cup Challenge Features 55 Group/Grade 1 Races in 13 Countries". www.breederscup.com. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  12. ^ "2015 Breeders' Cup Challenge series features 78 qualifying races - Handicappers' Edge". www.brisnet.com. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  13. ^ "2015 Breeders' Cup Challenge series features 78 qualifying races - Handicappers' Edge". www.brisnet.com. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  14. ^ "2016 Breeders' Cup Challenge Features 59 Grade/Group 1 Races in 12 Countries". breederscup.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  15. ^ "2016 Breeders' Cup Challenge Features 59 Grade/Group 1 Races in 12 Countries". breederscup.com. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Japan Races Added to BC Challenge Series". bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  17. ^ "California Chrome, Arrogate, Beholder, Songbird, Found (IRE), and Nyquist Lead 185 Pre-Entered Horses for 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park". breederscup.com. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  18. ^ "Del Mar to Host Five Breeders' Cup Challenge Races During Summer Meeting". www.dmtc.com. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Charts for the 2017 Breeders Cup - Friday" (PDF). Equibase. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Charts for the 2017 Breeders Cup - Saturday" (PDF). Equibase. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  21. ^ "18 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Features 82 Races in 12 Countries Awarding Automatic Berths, Travel and Paid Entry Fees Into World Championships". www.breederscup.com. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  22. ^ "The Breeders' Cup Challenge". www.breederscup.com. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Breeders' Cup Adds Three Challenge Races for New Race". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018.