Britain To Host Five Breeder’s Cup Challenge Races

The Breeders’ Cup announced that Britain will host five Breeders’ Cup Breeders’ Cup Challenge races this year. Winners of Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair)(G1) and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) (G1); Newmarket’s Fillies’ Mile (G1) and Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (G1), and the Coolmore Nunthorpe (G1) at York have been selected as the British races in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.

The winners of the five races will earn automatic starting berths into a corresponding race in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 4-5.  A complete schedule may be accessed at the following link:  http://members.breederscup.com/challenge/information.aspx

The expanded Challenge series, now in its fifth year, consists of 68 stakes races, which will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in the US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, France, Ireland and Japan as well as in Britain. There will be 18 races held outside of North America, 16 of which are Group 1 events. This year’s series began in Australia with two races at Royal Randwick. Black Caviar won the Darley TJ Smith Stakes (G1) on April 9 and earned an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. II), and the 6-year-old mare Sacred Choice won the Emirates Doncaster Mile (G1) last Saturday to earn a “Win and You’re In” berth into the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I). The first North American race of the series will be the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park on May 30, for a starting position in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).

As part of the enhanced benefits program for Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners introduced this year, for the first time, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees of all Challenge winners into the Championships and provide a travel allowance of US$20,000 to the winning connections of each Challenge winner from outside of North America and a US$10,000 travel allowance for winners of Challenge races held in North America. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.

Also new this year, breeders of Challenge winners will benefit as the Breeders’ Cup will pay a $10,000 award to the nominator of each Challenge race winner.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in Britain (All Group 1), with the corresponding Breeders’ Cup races, are:

July 24  – Ascot : King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes for  US$3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (sponsored by Betfair)

Aug. 19  – York: Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes  for US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Sept. 23  –  Newmarket: Fillies’ Mile  for US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Oct. 8 – Newmarket: Dubai Dewhurst Stakes for US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

Oct. 15 – Ascot: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes for US$2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (sponsored by QIPCO)

To ensure that the world’s best horses can compete in the Challenge series and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Breeders’ Cup is offering a special one-time “Open Enrollment” program this year. The Open Enrollment program, which ends on June 30, is available to any non-nominated horse anywhere in the world as long as the sire is Breeders’ Cup nominated in 2011. Non-nominated horses can be made fully eligible according to the following Open Enrollment fee schedule: yearlings for $3000, two-year-olds for $6000 and three-year-olds and up for $25.000.

“We have strengthened the Breeders’ Cup Challenge by upgrading the quality of the races and creating greater incentives for horsemen to participate in the series by paying the winners’ entry fees and travel expenses into the Championships,” said Clem Murphy, chairman of the Breeders’ Cup Racing and Nominations Committee. “All of these factors will help to generate increased awareness for our Championships throughout the summer and fall while promoting the best of Thoroughbred racing from around the world.”

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse, said:  “We are delighted that the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe will be part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge in 2011.  The race is one of the leading five furlong contests in Europe and has a great roll of honour.  Of course, Sheikh Albadou and Dayjur wrote their own chapters in Nunthorpe/Breeders’ Cup history.  By including free entry and a travel allowance for the winner of the Coolmore Nunthorpe to the $1m Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint the stakes and competition during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is set to be even higher.”

Nick Smith, Head of Communications and International Racing for Ascot Racecourses, commented: “Ascot is delighted to continue its involvement in Win & You’re In and applauds Breeders’ Cup Limited on the new initiatives. Both £1 million Ascot-hosted races are the most important and valuable all aged races at their distances in the UK and so natural partners with their Breeders’ Cup equivalents. The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is part of the new £3 million QIPCO British Champions Day on 15th October and we hope that connections of Europe’s best milers will embrace the lucrative dual challenge to become unequivocal champions on two continents.”

Newmarket Racecourses’ Director of Racing Michael Prosser said: “The Dubai Dewhurst Stakes and the Fillies’ Mile are consistently the best races of their type in Europe. So we were delighted when the Breeders’ Cup – a prestigious event of an international magnitude for the racing industry – approached us to negotiate the inclusion of our races in an exclusive set of five British contests, staged under its Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. Newmarket Racecourses embraces moves towards the increased internationalisation of racing and our commitment to the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series underlines this.”

In addition to the British races, the other Breeders’ Cup Challenge races to be run outside of  North America (with corresponding qualifying Breeders’ Cup race in parenthesis) are:

Australia – TJ Smith Stakes (G1) (Turf Sprint) on April 9 and the Doncaster Mile (G1) (Mile) both at Royal Randwick;

Argentina – Clasico Belgrano (G2) (Marathon) on June 18 at Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo S.A;

Ireland – Pretty Polly Stakes (G1) (Filly & Mare Turf) on June 25, Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) (Juvenile Fillies Turf) on Aug. 28 and the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Juvenile Turf) on Sept. 10 — all at The Curragh — and Irish Champion Stakes (Turf) on Sept. 3 at Leopardstown;

France – Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) (Turf) on June 26 from Saint-Cloud;   Prix Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (G1) on Aug. 15 at Deauville, and three races from Longchamp: Qatar Prix Niel (G2) (Turf) on Sept. 11; Qatar Petroleum Prix de L’Opera (Filly & Mare Turf) on Oct. 2 and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) (Juvenile Turf) on Oct. 3;

Japan will host its first Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) (Turf) from Hanshin Race Course on June 26.

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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. Total purses for this year’s two-day event at Churchill Downs, Nov. 4-5, are $26 million. The 2010 Breeders’ Cup delivered nearly $140 million in winning wagers to fans at betting locations around the globe. 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.

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