The 2016 “Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In presented by Lane's End Farm and America's Best Racing” continues this Saturday, June 25, live on NBCSN at 8:00 p.m. ET from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif, with the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. The Gold Cup is an automatic qualifier for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, which will be run at Santa Anita as part of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Nov. 4-5.
In 2016, the “Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In, presented by Lane's End Farm and America's Best Racing,” will consist of nine telecasts on NBC and NBCSN and feature 16 “Win And You're In” races plus other major stakes races on the road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The series will also be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Winners of these Challenge races, which combined offer more than $10 million in purses, automatically qualify for a spot in the Breeders' Cup.
Saturday's Gold Cup, a 1 ¼ mile race for 3-year-olds and up, drew an eight horse field. Among the contenders is Tarabilla Farms' 5-year-old Melatonin, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) back in March. This front-running gelding, trained by David Hofmans and ridden by Joe Talamo, comes into Saturday's race off a second-place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap last month. The 5-year-old Hoppertunity, trained by Bob Baffert, has had two impressive races this year, first winning the 1 1/8 mile San Antonio Stakes in February and then a third-place finish to California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup in March.
A deep closer in the field is the 6-year-old Hard Aces, who won last year's Gold Cup for trainer John Sadler. Another intriguing starter is Fox Hill Farm's 6-year-old Bal A Bali. Trained by Richard Mandella, Bal a Bali was an established turf star in Brazil earlier in his career, winning, at 1 ¼ miles and three times at 1 ½ miles. He will be making his main track debut on Saturday.
Laffit Pincay III hosts the Gold Cup at Santa Anita telecast, and will be joined by Hall of Fame jockey and analyst Jerry Bailey and reporters Jay Privman and Carolyn Manno.
Putting the spotlight on premier racetracks across the country, the 2016 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series began on Belmont Stakes Day, June 11, with outstanding performances by Frosted in the Metropolitan Handicap and Cavorting in the Ogden Phipps from Belmont Park. The series continues in July with live telecasts of American fixtures including the Haskell Invitational from Monmouth Park; several races from Saratoga, including the Travers and Woodward; The Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park; the Shadwell Turf Mile from Keeneland; and the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, among others. In addition, several NBC Sports Regional Networks will present replays of select races after their initial telecasts on NBC and NBCSN.
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