Breeder’s Cup Challenge expands to 65 races

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge, a series of automatic qualifying races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, will increase expansion this year with a record 65 races taking place in seven countries at the world’s greatest racing venues, it was announced today. (Click for complete schedule)

The expanded Challenge series, with its “Win and You’re In” provision, will include 14 overseas races from premier racetracks in England, Ireland, France, Australia and Hong Kong. The 2010 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races will begin in the U.S. on June 26 at Arlington Park with the Arlington Sprint Handicap, an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The Arlington Sprint will be followed on July 3 by two qualifying races from Monmouth Park: the United Nations (gr. I) on turf, and the Salvator Mile (gr. III).

This year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held November 5-6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be televised live on ABC and ESPN.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge series will again include domestic racetracks Belmont Park and Saratoga in New York, Del Mar near San Diego, Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles, Calder Race Course in Miami, Arlington Park in Chicago, Emerald Downs in Seattle, Delaware Park, Monmouth Park in New Jersey and Philadelphia Park in Pennsylvania; Turfway Park and Keeneland in Kentucky; and Woodbine in Toronto.

The 2010 Challenge races will be televised on ESPN, TVG and HRTV, TSN in Canada and in more than 120 countries.

- The Breeders’ Cup Challenge, which began in 2007 with 25 races at six U.S. racetracks and the Sha Tin in Hong Kong, was increased to 62 races last year. In 2010, there will be 10 premier overseas tracks participating in the series: Sha Tin in Hong Kong; Longchamp and Deauville in France, The Curragh, Leopardstown and Dundalk in Ireland, Ascot, and Newmarket in England and Randwick and Moonee Valley in Australia.

- In 2009, 32 Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winners competed in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Three of them won races at the Championships, led by Zenyatta, who became the first female horse to win the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Informed Decision, who won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and California Flag, who captured the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

- 21 races will be enhanced by funds through the Breeders’ Cup Stakes program

- The series will feature 36 Group 1, American Grade I or Canadian Grade 1 races, including 11 Group 1 races overseas.

“In just four years, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge has grown into a viable series that generates increased awareness for our Championships on a weekly basis throughout the summer and fall while promoting the best of Thoroughbred racing from around the globe. We are especially excited about the strong demand to host this year’s Challenge races from so many of the top racing associations in the world,” said Breeders’ Cup President & CEO Greg Avioli.

There will be four qualifying races this year for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic: the first in Saratoga on Aug. 8 with the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), followed by the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar on Aug. 28; the $200,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park on Sept. 4 and the $500,000 Goodwood Stakes (gr.1) at the Oak Tree Racing Association Meeting at Santa Anita on Oct. 9.

Among the other U.S. and Canadian grade 1 races in the Challenge series this year are: are the Ruffian Handicap (Ladies’ Classic) at Saratoga on Aug 1; Arlington Million (Turf) and the Beverly D (Filly & Mare Turf) on Aug. 21; the Pat O’Brien Handicap (Sprint) at Del Mar on Aug. 28; the Champagne (Juvenile) and Frizette Stakes (Juvenile Fillies) from Belmont Park on Oct. 9; Shadwell Turf Mile (Mile) on Oct. 9 and the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes on Oct. 10, both from Keeneland, and the Canadian International (IC) (Turf )and E.P. Taylor Stakes (Filly & Mare Turf) on Oct. 16 from Woodbine in Toronto.
The international Breeders’ Cup Challenge began in April with the Darley T.J. Smith Stakes (G1) at Randwick in Australia, which was won by Melito (AUS), who qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Later that month, Able One (NZ) was victorious in the Champions Mile (G1) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong to earn an automatic spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

- There are three new European Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on this year’s schedule: the Prix Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (G1) on Aug. 15 at Deauville will begin the qualifying season on the Continent. The Jacques le Marois is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile and may lure two-time defending Mile champion Goldikova (IRE); the Qatar Prix Niel (G2) at Longchamp in Paris on Sept. 12 for a position in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (G1) (Juvenile Turf) at The Curragh in Ireland on Sept. 11.

- Returning Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in Europe are the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) at The Curragh on Aug. 29; Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown on Sept. 4, both in Ireland and the Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (G1) at Moonee Valley in Australia on Sept. 24. There will be three Challenge races at Ascot on Sept. 25: The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes presented by Sony (G1) a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, the Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile (G1) for an automatic spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Juddmonte Royal Lodge (G2) for a position in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

- The Diamond Stakes (G3) at Dundalk on Oct. 1, for a starting position in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, will be the fourth Irish Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. Longchamp will be a Challenge host again on Arc day with the Qatar Prix de L’Abbaye (Turf Sprint) on Oct. 3. The Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (G1) from Newmarket on Oct. 16, for a starting position in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf, concludes the European qualifiers.

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