Breeders’ Cup announces Challenge Series races for June and July

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Highlighted by two automatic qualifiers for the $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and four free berths at the Royal Ascot meeting, the Breeders’ Cup Wednesday announced its June and July schedule of races for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge, now in its 14th year, is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held this year on Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

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The 15 Challenge Series races scheduled over the next two months will be televised by either NBC Sports, TVG or Fox Sports. (See schedule below).

The June “Win and You’re In” qualifiers begin this Saturday at Belmont Park with the Runhappy Carter Handicap (G1) on FS1 for a free berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The following day (June 7), the Yasuda Kinen (G1) on TVG will be held at Tokyo Racecourse, with the winner gaining an automatic starting position into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

The scene shifts back to Belmont Park on June 13 for the Ogden Phipps (G1) with a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on the line.  FS1 will televise the Ogden Phipps.

The Royal Ascot Meeting begins on Tuesday, June 16 and opens with the Queen Anne Stakes (G1), the first Breeders’ Cup Challenge race at the meeting. The Queen Anne, which will award a free qualifying spot into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, will be followed on June 17 by the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) for an automatic berth into the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).  A free starting position will be on the line for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) on June 19 in the Norfolk Stakes (G2). NBCSN and TVG will provide live coverage of the first three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at Ascot.

The “Win and You’re In” qualifying at the Royal Meeting concludes on June 20 with the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1), with the winner gaining an automatic qualifying position into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).  The Diamond Jubilee will be televised live on NBC and TVG.

Later on June 20 at Belmont Park, as part of NBC’s live Belmont Stakes (G1) coverage, another berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint will be awarded in the Jaipur “Presented by America’s Best Racing” (G1).

The following Saturday, June 27, Churchill Downs will be the site for two Breeders’ Cup Challenge races: The Stephen Foster (G2) will be the first U.S. “Win and You’re In” this year for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the Fleur de Lis (G2) will give its winner an automatic spot into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Both races will be televised live on NBC as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Win and You’re In – Presented by America’s Best Racing.”

On June 28, the scene shifts back to Japan for the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin Racecourse on TVG, with winner securing an automatic starting position into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

On July 4 on NBC, the first “Win and You’re In” of the year for the $2 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) will be up for grabs at Belmont Park in the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1).

On July 18, the TVG.com Haskell (G1) will be run at Monmouth Park, with the winner receiving a free position into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Haskell will be televised live on NBC as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by America’s Best Racing.”

The final Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races in July will be held in England and both will be televised on TVG.  On July 25 at Ascot, a “Win and You’re In” spot into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf  will be awarded to the winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (G1). On July 29 at Goodwood, the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) winner will earn an automatic berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile. (G1).

The Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) at Monterrico Race Course in Peru also may be scheduled during the next two months, depending on governmental regulations.  The Gran Premio Pamplona is a “Win and You’re In” for the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Breeders’ Cup will be announcing the remainder of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series schedule in the coming weeks.

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 Championships 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 Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 26 to receive the rewards.

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

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.