The Breeders' Cup Challenge Series for 2023 consists of 80 races in 11 countries.
Each winner will receive automatic qualifying positions, with fees paid, into a corresponding race in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup, which will be held this year at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 and 4.
The first win-and-you're-in race of the year in the U.S. will be the May 29 Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, a qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The complete 2023 schedule is available on the Breeders' Cup website.
Thirty-nine international races will complement the North American season at tracks in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Peru and South Africa.
After a successful restructuring in 2022, the 2023 series in the U.S. will again feature a regional qualifying program to balance divisional competition across the country.
In 10 of the 14 race divisions, there will be one Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race per region, identified as east, midwest and west. Breeders’ Cup will promote these regional rivalries on the road to the World Championships. The exception to the regional format will be the Breeders’ Cup Classic division, which will have six domestic qualifying races. New this year, all North American challenge races must be graded to be included in the series.
As part of the benefits to horsemen, Breeders’ Cup has allocated $5.12 million in free entry fees for this year’s challenge series and will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding championships race for all winners in the race series. Those winners must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.
In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $10,000 travel allowance for all starters in North America who are stabled outside of California, and a $40,000 travel allowance to the connections of all starters based outside of North America.
Eight automatic berths awarded for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 5-year-old Lemon Pop became the first horse to qualify for this year’s Classic when he won the Feb. 19 February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse.
The next automatic qualifier in the division will be the July 1 Stephen Foster Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs. That will be followed by the July 22 Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park and the Aug. 5 Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
The Aug. 23 Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York in England will be the only European win-and-you’re-in for the Classic. There will be two Classic division automatic qualifying races Sept. 2 when Saratoga hosts The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and Del Mar runs the Pacific Classic (G1). The Sept. 30 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita will be the final Classic qualifier this year.
The international portion of the series began Dec. 17 when the 3-year-old The Punisher captured the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) at Hipodromo de San Isidro in Argentina to gain the first automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Highlighted by four races during the Royal Ascot meeting in June and five on the Oct. 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) card at ParisLongchamp, the series concludes Oct. 21 with the Champion Stakes (G1) and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) at Ascot.