The Breeders’ Cup today announced its 2019 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series schedule, consisting of 86 automatic qualifying stakes races, whose winners receive automatic qualifying positions into corresponding Breeders’ Cup World Championships races. This year’s series has 64 Grade/Group 1 events in 11 countries, and features eight new races, including the Qatar Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe (G1) at ParisLongchamp (G1), and the first-ever European “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York.
The current 2019 full schedule is available here.
Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on November 1-2. This year’s Championships consists of 14 races, 13 of which are Grade 1 events, with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, now in its 13th year, will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in 11 countries: U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Peru and South Africa.
As part of the enhanced benefits to horsemen competing in the series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for winners of all Challenge races. The Challenge winner must already be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 21 to receive the rewards.
In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of all Championship starters from outside of North America and a $10,000 travel allowance for starters within North America that are stabled outside of California.
Last year, 35 Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners participated in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Five of those Challenge winners (race listed in parenthesis below) also won a Championships race in 2018: Accelerate (TVG Pacific Classic, G1 & Awesome Again Stakes, G1) in the Breeders’ Cup Classic; Sistercharlie (IRE) (Beverly D Stakes, G1) in the Maker’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf; Roy H (Santa Anita Sprint Championship, G1) in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Jaywalk (Frizette Stakes, G1) in the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Game Winner (American Pharoah Stakes, G1) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“We are both excited and proud with the expanded international reach of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, and for the benefits and incentives available to participating horsemen, including automatic starting positions and paid entries into the World Championship races,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “We also extend our gratitude to our new and existing racetrack partners in the 11 participating countries for their outstanding support and promotion of the series.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s Challenge Series are as follows:
- In addition to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, NBC Sports Group will televise the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In Series presented by America’s Best Racing,” featuring 11 live programs in the U.S. from June to October. The full 2019 television schedule can be found here.
- The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), one of the world’s most prestigious races, is now a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. The winner of this year’s Arc de Triomphe will earn an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Last year, two-time Arc winner Enable (GB) became the first horse to win the Arc and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same year. The Arc de Triomphe will anchor an enormous day of racing on October 6 at ParisLongchamp, which will total five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races.
- “France Galop is delighted to announce that the winner of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will now be automatically invited to take part in the Breeders ’Cup,” said Olivier Delloye, Presidence and Direction Gererale France Galop. “We can only thank Enable for proving that an Arc winner is indeed more than able to double up at the Breeders’ Cup! This is a welcome partnership between France Galop and the Breeders’ Cup and we look forward to seeing our best horses also perform at the top level in America.”
- The Arc is one of eight new races added to the 2019 Challenge series. The seven other new events are: The Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini Stakes (G1), which was held last December 15 and was won by Ricardo Benedicto’s Stud Rubio B’s 3-year-old Il Mercato (ARG) who earned a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf; the Darley Prix Morny (G1) (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint) at Deauville on August 18; the Fourstardave (G1) (Breeders’ Cup Mile); the Jockey Club Derby (Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf) at Belmont Park on September 7; the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) (Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint); the Cotillion Stakes (G1) (Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff) at Parx Racing on September 21 and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (G1) (Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint) on October 6.
- There will be a record eight races awarding automatic berths into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic,with the Juddmonte International at York Racecourse in England on August 21 becoming the first Breeders’ Cup Challenge race in Europe to award a Classic berth to its winner. (The International had been a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in previous years).
- The first U.S. automatic qualifier will be the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 15, followed by the TVG.com Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 20; the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on August 3; the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on August 17 and the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park and The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park, both scheduled for September 28.
- Shigeo Takeda’s 5-year-old homebred Inti (JPN), became the first horse to gain a free berth into the Classic with a “Win and You’re In” score in the February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse on February 15.
- For the 10th consecutive year, the Breeders’ Cup will pay foal nominators of Challenge winners a $10,000 award.
In addition to Il Mercato and Inti, two other horses also have gained automatic Breeders’ Cup Challenge berths this year. On January 5 in South Africa at Kenilworth Racecourse, Oh Susanna (AUS) won the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) and qualified for an automatic berth in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and Do It Again (SAF) captured the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) and gained an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile.