2021 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Features 84 Races in 10 Countries

Racing
The Breeders’ Cup returns to Del Mar in 2021 and the World Championships this year will feature 84 challenge series races that offer starting berths in the event. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Breeders' Cup released its 2021 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series schedule consisting of 84 automatic qualifying stakes races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. This year’s series, which includes a record nine “Win and You’re In” races for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic division, will take place in 10 countries. 

The complete 2021 schedule is available here

Horses from around the globe will be qualifying through the Challenge Series for the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, Calif., on Nov. 5-6, and will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN.

The Challenge Series, now in its 15th year, will be hosted at many of the world’s premier racetracks in Argentina, Canada, Chile, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Peru, South Africa, and the United States. 

There are two new Challenge Series races in 2021: The Grade 2 Suburban Stakes at Belmont Park on July 3, which grants a berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the Grade 2 Calumet Farm Kentucky Cup at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 11, which offers a spot in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The first North American Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of the year will be the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita Park on May 31. The Shoemaker Mile winner will gain a free starting position into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile.

As part of the benefits to horsemen, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for all Challenge Series race winners. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 25 to receive the rewards.

In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $40,000 travel allowance 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. 

In support of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which was signed into law in the U.S. last December, all Breeders’ Cup Challenge races this year will not permit medications to be administered within 24 hours of race day.

“We look forward to the return of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series with horsemen from around the world participating in and taking advantage of the many incentives, such as automatic starting positions and paid entry fees, to qualify for the World Championships,” Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming said. “We also thank our international and domestic racetrack partners for their important work and dedication to support the Challenge Series.”

Some of the highlights of this year’s Challenge Series are as follows:

  • Providing fans with a path to the World Championships, NBC Sports will televise the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In Series presented by America’s Best Racing,” featuring 12 live programs in the U.S. this summer and fall. The full 2021 television schedule will be announced Wednesday, April 21.
  • There will be a record nine automatic berths awarded for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 4-year-old Cafe Pharoah became the first horse to qualify for this year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the February Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan on Feb. 16. The next automatic qualifier in the division will be the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 26; followed by the Suburban Stakes at Belmont Park on July 3; the Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 17; the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 7; the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in England on Aug. 18; the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 21; the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga on Sept. 4; and the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 2.   
  • In the U.S., there will be six “Win and You’re In” races for the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, starting with the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 5 as part of the Belmont Stakes day program at Belmont Park. The Ogden Phipps will be followed by the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs on June 26; the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 1; the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 28; the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 3; and the Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 3.    
  • The European leg of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series will begin with four races at the Royal Ascot meeting in England: The Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on June 15 with an invitation to the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile; the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes on June 16 with an invitation to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf ; the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes on June 17 with an invitation to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint; and the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes on June 19 with an invitation to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
  • Three other prestigious European automatic qualifiers for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf are also back: The Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes at Ascot on July 24; the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 11; and the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 3, one of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on the Arc day program.    
  • Canada will be represented by three Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races at Woodbine, led by the Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sept. 18 with an invitation to the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Natalma Stakes with an invitation to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the Summer Stakes with an invitation to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, both on Sept. 19.

The international portion of the series began on Dec. 19 when the 3-year-old Cool Day captured the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini at Hipodromo de San Isidro in Argentina to gain the first automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Three more South American races will be part of the 2021 Challenge Series: the Gran Premio Criadores from Palermo in Argentina on May 1 with an invitation to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff; the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella at Club Hipico in Chile on May 2 with an invitation to the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile; and the Gran Premio Pamplona at Hipodromo de Monterrico in Peru on June 26 with an invitation to the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.    

On Jan. 9 at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa, two horses gained “Win and You’re In” berths. The 3-year-old Jet Dark won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for a free spot in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, and the 5-year-old mare Queen Supreme earned an automatic qualifying position into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf by winning the Cartier Paddock Stakes. On March 21, Mike de Kock, trainer of Queen Supreme, indicated that she will be pointed to the World Championships this fall.

Last year, five Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series winners also won a World Championships race:  Authentic (TVG.com Haskell Stakes) winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic; Tarnawa (Prix de l’Opera Longines) winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf; Glass Slippers (Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes) winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint; Essential Quality (Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity) winner of the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Aunt Pearl (JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes) winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

2021 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series schedule:

Date

Trk.

Race Name

Gr.

Dist.

Age/Sex

Division

12/19/20

SIS

Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini Stakes

1

1 1/2 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

1/9/21

KEN

Cartier Paddock Stakes

1

1 1/8 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

1/9/21

KEN

L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

2/21/21

TOK

February Stakes

1

1 Mile

4 YO & UP

Classic

5/1/21

Pal

Gran Premio Criadores

1

1 1/4 Miles

3 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

5/2/21

CHS

Gran Premio Club Hípico Falabella

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

5/16/21

TOK

Victoria Mile

1

1 Mile (T)

4 YO & UP

Filly & Mare Turf

5/31/21

SA

Shoemaker Mile

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

6/5/21

Bel

Jaipur

1

6 Furlongs (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf Sprint

6/5/21

Bel

Metropolitan

1

1 Mile

3 YO & UP

Dirt Mile

6/5/21

Bel

Ogden Phipps

1

1 1/16 Miles

4 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

6/6/21

TOK

Yasuda Kinen

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

6/15/21

ASC

Queen Anne Stakes

1

1 Mile (T)

4 YO & UP

Mile

6/16/21

ASC

Prince of Wales's Stakes

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

4 YO & UP

Turf

6/17/21

ASC

Norfolk Stakes

2

5 Furlongs (T)

2 YO

Juv. Turf Sprint

6/19/21

ASC

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

1

6 Furlongs (T)

4 YO & UP

Turf Sprint

6/26/21

CD

Fleur de Lis Stakes

2

1 1/8 Miles

4 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

6/26/21

CD

Stephen Foster Stakes

2

1 1/8 Miles

4 YO & UP

Classic

6/26/21

MON

Gran Premio Pamplona

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

6/27/21

HSN

Takarazuka Kinen

1

1 3/8 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

7/3/21

Bel

Suburban Stakes

2

1 1/4 Miles

4 YO & UP

Classic

7/3/21

GP

Princess Rooney

2

7 Furlongs

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Sprint

7/4/21

Bel

John A. Nerud

2

7 Furlongs

4 YO & UP

Sprint

7/17/21

Mth

TVG.com Haskell Stakes

1

1 1/8 Miles

3 YO

Classic

7/24/21

ASC

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes

1

1 1/2 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

7/28/21

GOO

Qatar Sussex Stakes

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

7/31/21

Dmr

Bing Crosby Stakes

1

6 Furlongs

3 YO & UP

Sprint

8/1/21

Dmr

Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

1

1 1/16 Miles

3 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

8/7/21

Sar

The Whitney

1

1 1/8 Miles

4 YO & UP

Classic

8/14/21

Sar

The Fourstardave

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

8/15/21

Dea

Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard

Jacques le Marois

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

8/18/21

YOR

Juddmonte International Stakes

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Classic

8/19/21

YOR

Darley Yorkshire Oaks

1

1 1/2 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

8/20/21

YOR

Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

1

5 Furlongs (T)

2 YO & UP

Turf Sprint

8/21/21

Dmr

Del Mar Handicap Presented By

2

1 3/8 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

The Japan Racing Association

8/21/21

Dmr

TVG Pacific Classic

1

1 1/4 Miles

3 YO & UP

Classic

8/22/21

Dea

Darley Prix Morny

1

6 Furlongs (T)

2 YO

Juv. Turf Sprint

8/28/21

Dmr

Pat O'Brien Stakes

2

7 Furlongs

3 YO & UP

Dirt Mile

8/28/21

Sar

The Ballerina

1

7 Furlongs

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Sprint

8/28/21

Sar

The Personal Ensign

1

1 1/8 Miles

4 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

8/28/21

Sar

The Sword Dancer

1

1 1/2 Miles (T)

4 YO & UP

Turf

9/4/21

Sar

Jockey Club Gold Cup

1

1 1/4 Miles

3 YO & UP

Classic

9/4/21

Sar

The Flower Bowl

1

1 3/8 Miles (T)

4 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

9/11/21

KD

Turf Sprint

3

6 Furlongs (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf Sprint

9/11/21

KD

Calumet Kentucky Cup

2

1 1/2 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

9/11/21

LEO

Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron Stakes

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

9/11/21

LEO

Irish Champion Stakes

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

9/11/21

LEO

KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes

2

1 Mile (T)

2 YO

Juvenile Turf

9/12/21

CUR

Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes

1

5 Furlongs (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf Sprint

9/12/21

CUR

Moyglare Stud Stakes

1

7 Furlongs (T)

2 YO, F

Juv. Fillies Turf

9/18/21

Bel

Jockey Club Derby Invitational

1 1/2 Miles (T)

3 YO

Turf

9/18/21

CD

Iroquois

3

1 1/16 Miles

2 YO

Juvenile

9/18/21

CD

Pocahontas

3

1 1/16 Miles

2 YO, F

Juvenile Fillies

9/18/21

WO

Ricoh Woodbine Mile

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

9/19/21

WO

Natalma Stakes

1

1 Mile (T)

2 YO, F

Juv. Fillies Turf

9/19/21

WO

Summer Stakes

1

1 Mile (T)

2 YO

Juvenile Turf

9/24/21

NEW

Shadwell Rockfel Stakes

2

7 Furlongs (T)

2 YO, F

Juv. Fillies Turf

9/25/21

NEW

Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes

2

1 Mile (T)

2 YO, C & G

Juvenile Turf

10/1/21

Kee

Darley Alcibiades

1

1 1/16 Miles

2 YO, F

Juvenile Fillies

10/1/21

Kee

Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix

2

6 Furlongs

3 YO & UP

Sprint

10/1/21

SA

American Pharoah Stakes

1

1 1/16 Miles

2 YO

Juvenile

10/1/21

SA

Chandelier Stakes

2

1 1/16 Miles

2 YO, F

Juvenile Fillies

10/1/21

SA

Speakeasy Stakes

5 Furlongs (T)

2 YO

Juv. Turf Sprint

10/2/21

Bel

The Champagne

1

1 Mile

2 YO

Juvenile

10/2/21

Kee

Claiborne Breeders' Futurity

1

1 1/16 Miles

2 YO

Juvenile

10/2/21

Kee

First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

10/2/21

Kee

Keeneland Turf Mile

1

1 Mile (T)

3 YO & UP

Mile

10/2/21

Kee

Thoroughbred Club of America

2

6 Furlongs

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Sprint

10/2/21

SA

Awesome Again Stakes

1

1 1/8 Miles

3 YO & UP

Classic

10/2/21

SA

Rodeo Drive Stakes

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

10/2/21

SA

Santa Anita Sprint Championship

2

6 Furlongs

3 YO & UP

Sprint

10/3/21

Bel

The Frizette

1

1 Mile

2 YO, F

Juvenile Fillies

10/3/21

Kee

Bourbon Stakes

2

1 1/16 Miles (T)

2 YO

Juvenile Turf

10/3/21

Kee

Indian Summer Stakes

5 1/2 Furlongs (T)

2 YO

Juv. Turf Sprint

10/3/21

Kee

Juddmonte Spinster

1

1 1/8 Miles

3 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

10/3/21

Lch

Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines

1

5 Furlongs (T)

2 YO & UP

Turf Sprint

10/3/21

Lch

Prix de l'Opera Longines

1

1 1/4 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP, F&M

Filly & Mare Turf

10/3/21

Lch

Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

1

1 1/2 Miles (T)

3 YO & UP

Turf

10/3/21

Lch

Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere

1

7 Furlongs (T)

2 YO

Juvenile Turf

10/3/21

Lch

Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac

1

1 Mile (T)

2 YO, F

Juv. Fillies Turf

10/3/21

SA

Zenyatta Stakes

2

1 1/16 Miles

3 YO & UP, F&M

Distaff

10/6/21

Kee

JPMorgan Chase Jessamine

2

1 1/16 Miles (T)

2 YO, F

Juv. Fillies Turf

10/9/21

Bel

The Vosburgh

2

6 Furlongs

3 YO & UP

Sprint

10/10/21

Bel

The Futurity

3

6 Furlongs (T)

2 YO, C & G

Juv. Turf Sprint

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