Breeders’ Cup, NBC Sports Announce 2021 Challenge Series TV Schedule

Events / Travel
Horses compete in the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports today announced the 2021 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” television schedule, consisting of 12 live programs featuring more than 20 automatic qualifying races and other major stakes from six of the nation’s premier racetracks on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Now in its eighth year on NBC Sports, the series showcases the top horses as they vie for a coveted automatic berth, and free entry, into the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled for Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, Calif. The World Championships will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN.

upcoming Livestreams

Always Be Racing: Fridays at 3 p.m. ET, hosted by Blackjack Fletcher and Danielle Moinet

The Winner’s Circle: Mondays at 11 a.m. ET, hosted by Bram Weinstein and Dan Tordjman - next episode on April 26

Kentucky Derby Preview: Hosted by Joy Taylor and featuring Jonathon Kinchen on April 29, start time TBD

La Trifecta: Every other Thursday, starting at 8 p.m. ET, with Claudia Spadaro, Darwin Vizcaya, & Annise Montplaisir - next episode on April 29

Breeders’ Cup is providing an “Add to Calendar” feature that allows fans to easily add the complete Breeders’ Cup Challenge and World Championships NBC Sports television schedule to their calendar. The calendar will automatically provide broadcast reminders including tune-in information. Fans can click here for more information and to add to their calendar now.

Television coverage of the 2021 Challenge Series begins on NBC at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 5 during NBC Sports’ Belmont Stakes Day programming. The first show will feature the Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap and the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps  live from Belmont Park, for automatic berths into the $1 million Grade 1 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the $2 million Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, respectively.

The televised series continues on NBC July 3 at 5:00 p.m. ET with the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes, which will award the winner an automatic berth into the $6 million Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic . The following day, July 4, a “Win and You’re In” for the $2 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint will be on the line in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes, with coverage starting at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Three-year-olds competing for an automatic berth into the Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic will be in the spotlight in the Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Stakes from Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., on July 17 on NBC. Last year, Authentic earned a free berth into the Classic when he won the Haskell, went on to win the Classic in November at Keeneland and was voted Horse of the Year. In 2015, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah earned an automatic berth into the Classic when he won the Haskell and later closed out his Horse of the Year campaign by winning the Classic.

Two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races which had previously been held at Belmont Park ― the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Grade 1 Flower Bowl ― will run this year at historic Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Sept. 4, and will be shown live on NBCSN. The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a “Win and You’re In” for the Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, while the Flower Bowl will provide the winner a free starting position into the $2 million Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

One week later, Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., is the scene for two “Win and You’re In” qualifiers on NBCSN headlined by a new race to the Challenge Series, the Grade 2 Calumet Kentucky Cup, with a free starting position into the $4 million Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The second televised race at Kentucky Downs will be the Grade 3 Turf Sprint, which gives the winner a free entry into the $1 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Woodbine Racecourse outside Toronto will be the site of three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races on turf over the Sept. 18-19 weekend on NBCSN. On Sept. 18, Woodbine will host the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, which will guarantee the winner a “Win and You’re In” spot into the $2 million Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile. On Sept. 19, 2-year-olds take center stage in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes for an automatic berth into the $1 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Grade 1 Natalma Stakes for a free entry in the $1 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. 

2020 Darley Alcibiades winner Simply Ravishing. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., will host four programs from Oct. 2-6 to close out the 2021 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” schedule. On Friday, Oct. 2 on NBCSN, there will be two races televised: the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies, for a “Win and You’re In” slot into the $2 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes, with the winner securing an automatic berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The centerpiece of the Saturday, Oct. 3, program at Keeneland on CNBC will be the Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile, which is a “Win and You’re In” for the Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile. Juvenile males also will be vying for a free berth into the $2 million Grade 1 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.

On Sunday, Oct. 4, NBCSN will present a 90-minute program featuring the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes and the Grade 2 Bourbon Stakes. The Spinster will offer an automatic starting position in the Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff and the Bourbon Stakes will give the winner a free spot into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf . The Oct. 4 program will also feature highlights of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races from ParisLongchamp in France, headlined by the Grade 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. 

“The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 6, with the Grade 2 Jessamine Stakes  at Keeneland for a free qualifying spot into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing continues to be an excellent way for fans to stay connected to the top horses and races throughout the summer and fall leading up to the World Championships,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “We thank NBC Sports for their continued commitment to our sport and are grateful for the broadcasting excellence they deliver in their domestic and international Thoroughbred racing coverage. We also thank our Challenge Series partner racetracks around the world along with America’s Best Racing for their presenting sponsorship and promotion of the series.”

“We are excited to showcase the world’s top horses in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series from Belmont Stakes Day throughout the summer and all the way to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in November,” said Justin Byczek, NBC Sports Senior Vice President of Programming and Rights Management.

The complete Challenge Series television schedule can be viewed here.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series coverage on NBC and NBCSN will be live-streamed on NBC Sports and the NBC Sports app. 

Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In presented by America's Best Racing

Schedule subject to change

Date

Network

Time (ET)

Event

Track

Challenge Division

Saturday, June 5

NBC 

5 - 7:15 p.m.

Runhappy Metropolitan H.

Belmont Park

Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile

Saturday, July 3

NBC

5 - 6 p.m.

The Suburban

Belmont Park

Longines Classic

Sunday, July 4

NBCSN

5 - 6 p.m.

John A. Nerud S.

Belmont Park

Sprint

Saturday, July 17

NBC

5 - 6 p.m.

TVG.com Haskell Stakes

Monmouth Park

Longines Classic

Saturday, Sept. 4

NBCSN

6 - 7 p.m.

Jockey Club Gold Cup

Saratoga

Longines Classic

Flower Bowl

Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf

Saturday, Sept. 11

NBCSN

5 - 6 p.m.

Turf Sprint

Kentucky Downs

Turf Sprint

Calumet Kentucky Cup

Longines Turf

Saturday, Sept. 18

NBCSN

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Woodbine Mile

Woodbine

 FanDuel Mile

Sunday, Sept. 19

NBCSN

4:30 - 6 p.m.

Summer S.

Woodbine

Juvenile Turf

Natalma S.

Juvenile Fillies Turf

Friday, Oct. 1

NBCSN

5 - 6 p.m.

Alcibiades S.

Keeneland Race Course

Juvenile Fillies

Phoenix S.

Sprint

Saturday, Oct. 2

CNBC

4 - 6 p.m.

Claiborne Breeders' Futurity

Keeneland Race Course

TVG Juvenile

Keeneland Turf Mile

FanDuel Mile

Sunday, Oct. 3

NBCSN

4:30 - 6 p.m.

Bourbon S.

Keeneland Race Course

Juvenile Turf

Juddmonte Spinster S.

Longines Distaff

Highlights: Qatar Prix de l'Arc Triomphe Day

ParisLongchamp

Various

Wednesday, Oct. 6

NBCSN

4 - 5 p.m.

Jessamine S.

Keeneland Race Course

Juvenile Fillies Turf

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