Seven Classic Qualifiers, Four Races at Royal Ascot Highlight 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series

Rushing Fall was a 2017 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series qualifier who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” Series continues to grow in both significance and size.

In 2017, 45 Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners participated in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, the largest contingent of “Win and You’re In” starters to compete in the event, and five of them also won a championships race. Gun Runner won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Forever Unbridled took the Longines Distaff, Roy H won the Twinspires Sprint, World Approval won the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Rushing Fall prevailed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In presented by America’s Best Racing currently consists of 82 automatic qualifying stakes races into corresponding Breeders’ Cup races, including 66 Grade or Group 1 races.

Click here to view the 2018 “Win and You’re In” schedule.

Forever Unbriodled Breeders' Cup Longines Distaff Challenge Series
Forever Unbridled winning Distaff. (Eclipse Sportswire)
This year at least 49 Challenge races will be hosted in North America with 33 additional international races, including four at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in June, as horses from around the globe try to qualify for the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 2-3.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, now in its 12th year, will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in 12 countries: U.S., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Japan, Ireland, 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 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 pre-entry deadline of Oct. 22 to receive the rewards.

Breeders’ Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of all starters from outside of North America and a $10,000 travel allowance for starters within North America that are stabled outside of Kentucky.

“As international participation increases for Thoroughbred racing on a global scale, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues to support horsemen and racing stables with important incentives, such as automatic starting positions and free entry fees, to qualify for the World Championships,” Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel said. “We also recognize the outstanding work by our 28 racetrack and racing association partners around the world who conduct these challenge races and thank them for their support and commitment to the series.”

This year’s Breeders’ Cup consists of 14 races, 13 of which are Grade 1 events, with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million.

Other highlights of this year’s Challenge Series:

  • 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. Click here to view the full 2018 television schedule.
  • There are seven automatic berths awarded for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, all Grade 1 races. Nonkono Yume became the first horse to qualify for the Classic when he won the February Stakes at Tokyo Race Couse on Feb. 18. The next automatic qualifier will be the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 16, followed by the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29; the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 4; the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug.18; the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 29; and the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 6.
  • The Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot is a qualifying race for the new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Breeders’ Cup is currently evaluating opportunities for domestic Challenge Series races for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
  • Four races during the June 19-23 Royal Ascot meeting have been added to this year’s challenge schedule: the Queen Anne Stakes for 4-year-olds and older at one mile on turf (Breeders’ Cup Mile), the Prince of Wales’s Stakes for 4-year-olds and older at 1 ¼ miles on turf (Longines Turf), the Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-old males and fillies at five furlongs (Juvenile Turf Sprint), and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes for 4-year-olds and older at six furlongs on turf (Turf Sprint).

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