The Breeders’ Cup announced today that three North American races have been added to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, with the winners receiving automatic starting positions into the new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The three new races increase this year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge series to 85 qualifying events around the world. Winners of Challenge races receive free berths and entry fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 2-3.
The newly created Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint will be run at 5.5 furlongs on the turf and will be open to all 2-year-olds. The field will be limited to 12 starters and will run on Future Stars Friday.
The additional Breeders’ Cup Challenge Juvenile Turf Sprint qualifiers are:
October 6 – $150,000 The Futurity; Belmont Park; 6 furlongs (turf), 2yo males
October 6 – A juvenile turf sprint at Santa Anita Park, details to be announced at later date
October 7 – $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes, Keeneland; 5.5 furlongs (turf) 2yo open
Breeze Easy LLC’s Shang Shang Shang became the first horse to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint when she won the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot on June 21.
“We look forward to establishing a late fall stakes program of automatic qualifiers with three major racetrack partners to provide ‘Win & You’re In’ opportunities for the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint,” said Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup Senior Vice President of Racing and Nominations. “We thank the Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association and the Stronach Group at Santa Anita for their support of this turf division and expanded participation in the Challenge series.”
“NYRA has a very strong turf two-year-old program. We provide many turf opportunities starting in mid-May for turf two-year-olds and are pleased to participate in this Breeders’ Cup endeavor with the winner of the Futurity receiving an automatic berth into the Juvenile Turf Sprint,” said Martin Panza, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, the New York Racing Association.
Rick Hammerle, Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary, Santa Anita Park, said:
“We are evaluating the optimal conditions for this new Juvenile Turf Sprint division and will be creating a new race to provide Win and You’re In opportunities for our West Coast horsemen.”
“The Indian Summer Stakes is an exciting addition to Keeneland’s blockbuster Fall Stars Weekend,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “Keeneland’s Fall Meet has produced the winners of 47 Breeders’ Cup races since the inaugural World Championships in 1984, and we are honored to be part of the buildup to its newest event, the Juvenile Turf Sprint.”