2023 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Features 80 Qualifying Races in 11 Countries

May 10, 2023

Flightline wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Breeders’ Cup Limited today announced the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In schedule of 80 races in 11 countries. Each winner will receive automatic qualifying positions, with fees paid, into a corresponding race in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Horses from around the globe will qualify through the Win and You’re In program, now in its 16th year, for the 40th running of the World Championships. Consisting of 14 Grade 1 races and purses and awards totaling $31 million, this year’s Championships will be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The first Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of the year in the United States will be the May 29 Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park, a qualifying race for the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1). The complete 2023 schedule is available at BreedersCup.com/races/challenge-series.

Thirty-nine international races will complement the North American season as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is hosted at premier racetracks in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Peru, and South Africa.

After a successful restructuring in 2022, the 2023 series in the U.S. will again feature a regional qualifying program to balance divisional competition across the country. In 10 of the 14 race divisions, there will be one Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race per region, identified as East, Midwest, and West. Breeders’ Cup will promote these regional rivalries on the road to the World Championships. The exception to the regional format will be the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic division, which will have six domestic qualifying races. New this year, all North American Challenge races must be graded to be included in the series.

“We are very proud that horsemen around the world continue to take advantage of the benefits offered by the Challenge Series, including automatic entry and fees paid, as the best way to gain a starting position in the World Championships,” said Dora Delgado, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Officer of Breeders’ Cup Limited. “We also thank the various racing jurisdictions on five continents who support and administer the races that comprise this year’s series, and we look forward to a culmination of the series at Santa Anita Park in November.”

Flightline soars in the TVG Pacific Classic, a qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Last year, 38 Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners competed in the World Championships at Keeneland and seven won their respective divisional races: Flightline, $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1); Malathaat, $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1); Elite Power, $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1); Modern Games, $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1); Goodnight Olive, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1); Forte, $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1); and Wonder Wheel, $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

As part of the benefits to horsemen, Breeders’ Cup has allocated $5,120,000 in free entry fees for this year’s Challenge Series and 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 pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.

In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $10,000 travel allowance for all starters within North America that are stabled outside of California, and a $40,000 travel allowance to the connections of all Championship starters based outside of North America.

NBC, CNBC, and FOX will televise the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, featuring six live programs in the U.S. this summer and fall. Many of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races will also be televised on FanDuel TV, which will continue to provide extensive special programming in the run-up to the World Championships. The full 2023 television schedule will be announced May 11.

There will be eight automatic berths awarded for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The 5-year-old Lemon Pop became the first horse to qualify for this year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the Feb. 19 February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan. The next automatic qualifier in the division will be the July 1 Stephen Foster Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs. The Stephen Foster will be followed by the July 22 Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park and the Aug. 5 Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course. The Aug. 23 Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York in England will be the only European Win and You’re In for the Classic. There will be two Classic Division automatic qualifying races Sept. 2 when Saratoga hosts The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and Del Mar runs the FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic (G1). The Sept. 30 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park will be the final Classic qualifier this year.

The international portion of the series began Dec. 17 when the 3-year-old The Punisher (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. Highlighted by four races during the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in June and five on the Oct. 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) card at ParisLongchamp, the series concludes Oct. 21 with the QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1) and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO (G1) at Ascot Racecourse.

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