Breeders Cup announces races in Challenge Series

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Keeneland Public Affairs) — Headlined by two automatic qualifiers for the $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic and three “Win and You’re In” starting positions at York’s Ebor Festival in Britain, the Breeders’ Cup announced Wednesday its August schedule of races as part of 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 for a corresponding race in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held this year on Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

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There will be 16 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in August, beginning on Aug. 1 with two races at Saratoga Race Course and one at Del Mar. Saratoga will host the 1 1/8-mile Whitney (G1), which will give the winner an automatic starting position into the 1 ¼-mile, $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, as well as the 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign (G1), providing the winner with a “Win and You’re In” for the 1 1/8-mile, $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Later that day at Del Mar, the second automatic berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) will be awarded to the winner of the 6-furlong Bing Crosby Stakes (G1). The following day, Aug. 2, Del Mar will host its “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the 1 1/16-mile Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1).

On Aug. 8, the first “Win and You’re In” for a spot in the 7-furlong, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) will be on the line in the 7-furlong Ballerina Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

One week later, on Aug. 15 at Saratoga, the winner of the 1 ¼-mile Alabama Stakes (G1), for 3-year-old fillies, will earn a free bid into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Alabama 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 scene will then shift to Europe for the next four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. On Aug. 16, France’s historic racing venue, Deauville, will host the 1-mile Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le Buffard – Jacques Le Marois (G1), granting an automatic berth into the 1-mile, $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on turf.

On Aug. 19 in Great Britain, York Racecourse will open its Yorkshire Ebor Festival, which will be home to three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races. On the first day of the meet, the 1 ¼-mile Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) will offer Europe’s only free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.  On Aug. 20, fillies and mares will be in spotlight for the 1 ½-mile Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1), with the winner awarded a free spot in the 1 3/16-mile, $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).  A “Win and You’re In” position for the 5 ½-furlong, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) will be at stake the following day, Aug. 21, in the 5-furlong Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (G1).

Back in the U.S., three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races will be held on Aug. 22. Saratoga will host the 1-mile Fourstardave (G1), earning the winner a free spot in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile.  Del Mar will host two Breeders’ Cup Challenge races: the 1 ¼-mile TVG Pacific Classic (G1) for the year’s sixth automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the 1 3/8-mile Del Mar Handicap – presented by the Japan Racing Association (G2), a “Win and You’re In” for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

On Aug. 23, the second “Win and You’re In” for the  5 ½ -furlong, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) will be offered at Deauville in the 6-furlong Darley Prix Morny (G1) for 2-year-olds.

The month of Challenge Series races will close with two events on Aug. 29: the 1 ½-mile Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga for a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, and the 7-furlong Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar, which offers an automatic starting position into the 1-mile, $2 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

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 be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 26 to receive the rewards, and those rewards must be used in the year they are earned.

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