Final automatic qualifying positions for the Breeders' Cup World Championships will be at stake at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., during two live “Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Win and You're In – presented by America's Best Racing” broadcasts this weekend. Coverage begins this Saturday, October 6, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC with the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile and the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity. The $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes and the $200,000 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes highlight live programming this Sunday, October 7 at 4:30 p.m. ET, also on NBC.
This weekend's 90-minute programs are the 10th and 11th telecasts, respectively, concluding the 2018 “Breeders' Cup Challenge Series on NBC and NBCSN, featuring 17 “Win And You're In” races plus other major stakes from the nation's most iconic racetracks leading to the 35th Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 2-3 on NBC and NBCSN. Complete series TV schedule can be accessed here: http://www.breederscup.com/challenge-series
Laffit Pincay III host both Saturday and Sunday broadcast and will be joined for this weekend's shows by analyst Randy Moss, reporters Donna Brothers, Britney Eurton and Nick Luck, and Daily Racing Form Handicapper Matt Bernier.
Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) also will broadcast Breeders' Cup Challenge action at Keeneland this weekend: Saturday's show will be from 4-6 p.m. ET on Sirius 219 / XM 201; and Sunday's program will be from 5-6 p.m. ET on Sirius 93, and streaming at www.horseracingradio.net
The $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile on Saturday has long been an important springboard to the Breeders' Cup Mile and this year figures no different, as a deep and competitive field is lining up for a “Win and You're In” berth, with Terry Hamilton's Heart to Heart looking to improve on his second-place finish in last year's race. The 7-year-old son of 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf winner English Channel won the Gulfstream Park Turf Championship in February and the course and distance Maker's 46 Mile in April for trainer Brian Lynch, but will need to rebound from a last place finish in Saratoga's Fourstardave on August 11. Heart to Heart is 15-for-37 lifetime, which includes a 10th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile last year at Del Mar.
Owner-trainer Wesley Ward's Bound for Nowhere won the local Shakertown, sprinting in April and stretched out to win the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs September 1. The 4-year-old son of The Factor is 5-for-8 lifetime and showed he's Grade I caliber when he came in third in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot in June. Shadwell Stable's Almanaar (GB) will be a big threat cutting back in distance for trainer Chad Brown, as he was second in the “Win and You're In” 1 ¼- mile Arlington Million (GI), an automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.
The $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity offers an important prep for the Sentient Jet Juvenile and it's no surprise the 1 1/16-mile test has drawn a full field of 14, with Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable's Mind Control figuring to be a major player. Trained by Greg Sacco, Mind Control was the upset winner in the Saratoga's seven-furlong Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 3. The son of Stay Thirsty is 2-for-3 lifetime and has improved as the distances have increased, suggesting he will be up to what is his stiffest test to date. Trainer Chad Brown will ship in a pair of impressive New York debut winners in Looking at Bikinis and Standard Deviation, while Sombeyay is also expected in for trainer Todd Pletcher.
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