The Breeders’ Cup is just one weekend at the end of the season, but Breeders’ Cup excitement builds throughout the year with the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. The yearlong “Win and You’re In” series awards a guaranteed place in the starting gate, plus entry fees and a travel stipend, to a few talented horses who win a qualifying race leading up to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships held at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2, 2019.
The series continues with an NBC broadcast from Belmont Park this weekend, featuring the John A. Nerud Stakes, a Challenge race which awards the winner a place in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Take a look at the stats and figures surrounding the series below.
5 - Five 2018 Breeders’ Cup challenge race winners went on to win a Breeders’ Cup race in November: Classic winner Accelerate, Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf winner Sistercharlie, TwinSpires Sprint winner Roy H, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies winner Jaywalk, and Sentient Jet Juvenile winner Game Winner.
8 - There will be a record eight Breeders’ Cup Classic qualifying races in 2019, including the first-ever European Classic qualifier, the Juddmonte International at York Racecourse in England.
8 - Eight new races were added to the series lineup this year, including the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris. Last year’s Arc winner Enable shipped to Kentucky to win the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf a month later.
11 - Total number of countries to host a “Win and You’re In” race this year.
12 - Number of different North American tracks that will host a Challenge series race this year.
12 - The number of years that the series has been in existence, since 2007.
14 - There’s a Challenge race for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races, from the Juvenile Turf Sprint to the Classic.
21 - The number of qualifying races that will be broadcast by NBC Sports, presented by America’s Best Racing.
35 - The number of 2018 Challenge winners that went on to compete in the Breeders’ Cup.
42.5 weeks - Total time between the first Challenge series race in December 2018 and the final race in October 2019.
64 - Number of “Win and You’re In” races that are at the highest level: Grade or Group 1.
86 - Total number of Challenge races this year; 34 of which are not in North America.
1984 - The year that the Breeders’ Cup started. The Challenge Series began 23 years later.
$30 million - Amount of purses and awards that Challenge winners will get to compete for at the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships this fall.