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Belmont Park to Host Ten Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races as Part of 2013 Schedule

By Jim Gluckson | 04/12/2013 01:53 PM ET
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

Winners of 67 Races Earn Automatic Berths, Travel and Entry Fees Paid Into World Championships

The Breeders' Cup announced Monday that the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series will consist of 67 automatic qualifying races into the Breeders' Cup World Championships. This year’s series will be conducted in 10 countries and will feature 48 Grade or Group 1 events, and nine new races. Breeders’ Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners into the Championships.

Belmont Park will host ten races during the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series beginning on September 28 with the Beldame Invitational Stakes. (The complete 2013 schedule is available at https://members.breederscup.com/challenge/schedule.aspx).

Horses around the globe will be qualifying for the 30th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on November 1, 2, and will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network. The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be shown live in primetime on NBC from 8-9 p.m. ET on Nov. 2.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, now in its seventh year, will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in the US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan and South Africa. This year’s series began in January in South Africa, when the 5-year-old Variety Club (SAF) won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town and qualified for an automatic starting position in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI). The first North American race of the series will be the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs June 15, for an automatic berth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).

As part of the enhanced benefits program for Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for winners of all Challenge winners starting in the Championships. For this year’s World Championships, Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters, including Challenge winners. Breeders’ Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the winning connections of each Challenge winner from outside of North America and a $10,000 travel allowance for winners of North American races held outside of California. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 21 to receive the rewards.

Belmont will host the following Breeders’ Cup Challenge races:

DATE                                   RACE                                               BC QUALIFYING RACE
Sept. 28                Beldame Invitational Stakes (GI)                        Ladies’ Classic
Sept. 28                Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (GI)                 Filly & Mare Turf
Sept. 28                Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (GI)       Classic                 
Sept. 28                Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (GI)                             Sprint
Sept. 28                Kelso Handicap (GII)                                                 Dirt Mile
Sept. 28                Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (GI)       Turf
Oct. 5                    Foxwoods Champagne Stakes (GI)                        Juvenile
Oct. 5                    Frizette Stakes (GI)                                             Juvenile Fillies
Oct. 6                    Miss Grillo S. (GIII)                                        Juvenile Fillies Turf
Oct. 6                    Pilgrim S. (GIII)                                                       Juvenile Turf

Last year, a record 45 winners of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races participated in the World Championships. Of those, seven horses, Fort Larned (Classic), Wise Dan (Mile), Groupie Doll (Filly & Mare Sprint), Royal Delta (Ladies’ Classic), Shanghai Bobby (Juvenile), Little Mike (Turf) and Calidoscopio (Marathon) won Breeders’ Cup World Championships races.

“We are very encouraged that horsemen from around the world continue to take advantage of the Challenge series benefits of a guaranteed starting berth, free entry fees, and travel allowances as a way to secure a place into the Championships,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel.

There will be five automatic berths for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Classic qualifiers, all Grade I races, begin with the Stephen Foster Handicap. The Whitney Handicap from Saratoga on August 3, won last year by Fort Larned, will be the next Classic qualifier, followed by the TVG Pacific Classic from Del Mar on August 25 and the Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park and the Awesome Again Stakes from Santa Anita Park, both on September 28. 

The 2013 series will include 9 new races: the Triple Bend Handicap (GI) on June 29 at Betfair Hollywood Park for an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile; the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) (Turf Sprint) from Del Mar on July 28; the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) (Filly & Mare Turf) and the Connally’s Red Mills Lowther Stakes (G2) (Juvenile Fillies Turf) at York in England, both on August 22; the Pat O’Brien Stakes (Dirt Mile) at Del Mar on August 25; the ICON Juvenile Trial (G3) (Juvenile Turf) on September 7 at Leopardstown in Ireland; the Pocahontas Stakes (GII) (Juvenile Fillies) and the Iroquois Stakes (GIII) (Juvenile), both from Churchill Downs on Sept. 7, and the Canadian Stakes (GII) (Filly & Mare Turf) on September 15 at Woodbine.

For the third consecutive year, the Breeders’ Cup will pay foal nominators of Challenge winners a $10,000 award.

About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2013 World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 1-2, and will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network and NBC. The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be shown live and in primetime on NBC. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.