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LEXINGTON, KY – The Breeders’ Cup announced its 2021 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series schedule consisting of 84 automatic qualifying stakes races into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This year’s series, which includes a record 9 “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.
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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, California, on November 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 Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on July 3, which grants a berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and the Calumet Kentucky Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs on September 11, which offers a spot in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
The first North American Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of the year will be the Shoemaker Mile (G1) 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 (G1).
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 Octember 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,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “We also thank our international and domestic racetrack partners for their important work and dedication to support the Challenge Series.”
Why We HATE Your Kentucky Derby Pick – 2021 Edition
Some of the highlights of this year’s Challenge Series are as follows:
The international portion of the series began on Dec. 19 when the 3-year-old Cool Day (ARG) captured the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) at Hipodromo de San Isidro in Argentina to gain the first automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Three more South American races will be part of the 2021 Challenge Series: the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) from Palermo in Argentina on May 1 with an invitation to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1); the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) at Club Hipico in Chile on May 2 with an invitation to the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1); and the Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) at Hipodromo de Monterrico in Peru on June 26 with an invitation to the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
On Jan. 9 at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa, two horses gained “Win and You’re In” berths. The 3-year-old Jet Dark (SAF) won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) for a free spot in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and the 5-year-old mare Queen Supreme (IRE) earned an automatic qualifying position into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) by winning the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1). 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, G1) winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1); Tarnawa (Prix de l’Opera Longines, G1) winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1); Glass Slippers (Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes, G1) winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1); Essential Quality (Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, G1) winner of the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Aunt Pearl (JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, G2) winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
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