As Santa Anita Park has resumed live racing at its current meeting, the Shoemaker Mile (G1) on Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day), will be the first race of the 2020 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series in the U.S.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge, now in its 14th year, is an international series of stakes races whose winners receives automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held this year on Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.
The $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, a 1-mile race on turf for 3-year-olds and up, will provide the winner with a free berth into the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), also a 1-mile race on turf.
As part of the enhanced benefits to horsemen competing in the series, Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for winners of all Challenge races. The Challenge winner must already be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships' pre-entry deadline of October 26 to receive the rewards.
In addition, Breeders' Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of all Championship starters from outside of North America, and a $10,000 travel allowance for starters within North America that are stabled outside of Kentucky.
“We congratulate Santa Anita on their return to racing and are excited that they will launch our first domestic Challenge Series race of year on Memorial Day with the Shoemaker Mile,” said Dora Delgado, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Officer. “With more racetracks opening over the next few weeks and setting their stakes schedules, we look forward to announcing our complete calendar of 'Win and You're In' races for the summer and fall.”
Breeders' Cup, in conjunction with NBC Sports, also will be announcing its 2020 schedule of live racing broadcasts for the “Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In – Presented by America's Best Racing,” in the coming weeks.
There have been five international 2020 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series races thus far.
In December of last year, Haras Phillipson's 3-year-old homebred Nao Da Mais (BRZ) won the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) at San Isidro Racecourse in Argentina, earning the winner an automatic berth into the $6 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1).
The next two qualifiers came from South Africa. On Jan. 11 at Kenilworth Racecourse, Kantor, Blank, Sarkis & Yutar's 4-year-old gelding Vardy (SAF) won the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate (G1) and earned the first automatic berth into the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile this year. Earlier on the program, 4-year-old filly Queen Supreme (IRE), owned by Mauritzfontein (Pty) Ltd., Mrs. M F de Kock and partners, won the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1), and gained a free berth into the $2 million Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
On Feb. 23, Capital System's 6-year-old Mozu Ascot won the February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse and became the first horse this year to qualify for the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic.
Last Sunday, Silk Racing's 5-year-old mare Almond Eye (JPN) won the Victoria Mile (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse and earned an automatic berth into the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
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