News and STORIES

Preakness Joins Breeders' Cup Challenge Series

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Tuesday August 25, 2020
For the first time in its history, a Triple Crown race will be part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.

On Aug. 24, officials of the Breeders' Cup and The Stronach Group announced that the winner of the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course would be awarded an automatic starting position in the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). 

The Breeders' Cup Challenge

The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races, and the winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into races of the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The events are scheduled to be held between Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland, with the $7 million, one 1/4-mile Classic taking place on Nov. 7.

Drew Fleming is Breeders' Cup president and CEO.

"We are delighted to join The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club in welcoming the Preakness to this year's Breeders' Cup Challenge series, and that we will be able to provide the winning connections with an added incentive to run in the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic," said Fleming. "As a foundation race of the Triple Crown, and the premier event in the proud history of Maryland racing, we look forward to working together with The Stronach Group, and our partners at NBC Sports, to promote an exciting fall season for Thoroughbred racing."

Craig Fravel is CEO of The Stronach Group's racing operations and 1/ST.

"The events of 2020 have for all of us been about responding to unforeseen challenges and making the best of them," said Fravel. "Many of those challenges including the changes to the Triple Crown have been unwelcome but becoming part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series is most welcome and a fitting finale to the 3-year-old season as the horses and their connections make their way to Baltimore for the last leg of the Triple Crown. We look forward to hosting the best of America's 3-year-old horses on Oct. 3 at the Preakness and to enjoying their success thereafter in the Breeders' Cup Classic."

The Preakness and the Classic will both air on NBC.

Jon Miller is president of programming for the network and NBCSN.

"With terrific racing ahead, we're excited that the two biggest events of the fall months will be further connected with the Preakness Stakes winner earning a coveted berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic," said Miller.

Schedule Changes

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some schedule changes for the Preakness, which is traditionally the second race in the Triple Crown series. This year, it will be the third.

The 1 3/16-mile race for 3-year-olds was originally set to run on May 16, but the 2020 Triple Crown kicked off on June 20 with the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1). That event was won by Tiz the Law at Belmont Park.

The Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs will run on Sept. 5.

Preakness Winners

There have been a total of four Preakness winners who have gone on to take the Breeders' Cup Classic. American Pharoah did it in 2015, becoming the first ever to sweep the Triple Crown and take the Classic at Keeneland. 

Other Preakness winners who have also won the Classic include Sunday Silence (1989), Alysheba (1987) and Curlin (2007).

One of the benefits of the Challenge series is that the Breeders' Cup will pay the $150,000 in entry fees for the Preakness winner to run in the Classic. The field is limited to 14 entrants.

The Breeders' Cup also provides a $10,000 travel allowance for all North American starters based outside of Kentucky to run in the World Championships. 

The 2020 Classic already has six horses who have earned automatic starting positions through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series: Mozu Ascot, Tom's d'Etat, Authentic, Improbable, Ghaiyyath and Maximum Security.