Arlington to Host Three Breeders' Cup Challenge Races in 2008
The Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of automatic qualifying races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships, will be expanded from 24 races to a minimum of 49 races at 12 of North America's premier racing venues in 2008, Breeders' Cup announced today. Arlington will host three races during the 2008 Breeders' Cup Challenge season beginning on August 9 with the Arlington Million and Beverly D.
The expanded Challenge will now include six international races at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada. Other new markets and tracks for the 2008 Breeders' Cup Challenge include Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash.; Suffolk Downs in Boston; Delaware Park in Wilmington, Del.; Calder Race Course near Miami; and Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. The 2008 Breeders' Cup Challenge races will be televised on ABC, ESPN, TVG and HRTV in more than 120 countries.
The 2008 Breeders' Cup Challenge will be highlighted by its "Win and You're In" provision, with the winner of each of the 49 Challenge races automatically qualifying for a spot in the corresponding divisional race in the fourteen-race, $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championships. The 2008 Breeders' Cup marks the 25th running of the event, which will be held October 24-25 at The Oak Tree Racing Association meet at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live on ESPN.
Arlington will host the following Breeders' Cup Challenge races:
August 9, 2008 Arlington Million (Turf division)
August 9, 2008 Beverly D. (Filly & Mare Turf division)
August 23, 2008 Arlington Sprint (Turf Sprint division)
"Following last year's successful launch of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, there was a great deal of interest from tracks around the country and internationally to be a part of this years series, and that interest led to the expansion of the Challenge," said Greg Avioli, president and chief executive officer of Breeders' Cup Ltd. "The creation of the Breeders' Cup Challenge has served as a powerful link between America's greatest races to the Breeders' Cup and has created an increased level of awareness for the horses competing in the World Championships."
Five of the 49 races will be automatic qualifiers for starting positions in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic beginning with the Whitney Handicap in Saratoga (July 26), the Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar (Tentative - August 24), the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs (September 20), The Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park (September 27), and the Goodwood Stakes at the Oak Tree Racing Association's meet at Santa Anita Park (Tentative - September 27). The Classic is limited to 14 starters.
Breeders' Cup Challenge expansion also includes the addition of qualifying races for the $1 Million Dirt Mile, $2 Million Juvenile Fillies, $ 1 Million Juvenile Fillies Turf and $1 Million Juvenile Turf. In its first year the Breeders' Cup Challenge consisted of 24 races.
In its first year the Breeders' Cup Challenge had 14 winners who competed in the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Championships; four horses won - War Pass (Juvenile), Ginger Punch (Distaff), English Channel (Turf), and Curlin (Classic).
Shamdinan (Turf), Lawyer Ron (Classic), Tiago (Classic), Greg's Gold (Sprint), Idiot Proof (Sprint), Wicked Style (Juvenile), Tough Tiz's Sis (Distaff), Unbridled Belle (Distaff), Purim (Mile) and My Typhoon (Mile) were BC Challenge winners who also competed in the 2007 Breeders' Cup.
While 49 races have been established as the preliminary Challenge schedule for 2008, Breeders' Cup officials indicated that they might expand by an additional 5-6 races pending ongoing discussions with partner tracks.
Introduced in 2007, the Breeders' Cup Challenge helped drive attendance, wagering, television and media coverage in participating markets where Breeders' Cup and its partner tracks co-promoted the events.