What to know about the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series


The Breeders’ Cup World Championships brings top Thoroughbreds from around the world together for two days of racing with tens of millions of dollars on the line. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup will take place on Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2, only on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. The Breeders’ Cup changes locations every year, and the 2019 edition will remain at Santa Anita Park in California, despite 30 horse deaths during its last racing season.

Over the weekend, pre-qualified horses will run 14 races (on both the dirt and turf), culminating in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2. The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series offers a direct path to one of the most exciting weekends in horse racing. Claiming victory in any of the BCCS’ “Win and You’re In” races equals an automatic entry into that division’s corresponding race, all entry fees paid. With a maximum of 14 horses in each race, the rest are chosen via a points system and a panel of judges.

“Win and You’re In” races are held around the world, including in the U.S., England, Brazil and Japan, contributing to the global reach of the Breeders’ Cup.

NBC Sports broadcast schedule:

  • Jaipur Invitational Stakes (Turf Sprint)
    • June 8, 2:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Belmont Park
    • Winner: World of Trouble | Replay
  • Runhappy Met Mile (Dirt Mile)
    • June 8, 4 p.m. ET (NBC), Belmont Park
    • Winner: Mitole | Replay
  • Stephen Foster (Classic)
    • June 15, 8:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Churchill Downs
    • Winner: Seeking the Soul | Replay
  • Fleur de Lis (Longines Distaff)
    • June 15, 8:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Churchill Downs
    • Winner: Elate | Replay
  • Queen Anne Stakes (TVG Mile)
    • June 18, 8:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN), Royal Ascot
    • Winner: Lord Glitters | Replay
  • Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Longines Turf) ⁠
    • June 19, 8:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN), Royal Ascot
    • Winner: Crystal Ocean | Replay
  • Norfolk Stakes (Juvenile Turf Sprint) ⁠
    • June 20, 8:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN), Royal Ascot
    • Winner: A’Ali | Replay
  • Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Turf Sprint) ⁠
    • June 22, 9 a.m. ET (NBC), Royal Ascot
    • Winner: Blue Point | Replay
  • John A. Nerud (Sprint)
    • July 6, 4 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Belmont Park
    • Winner: Promises Fulfilled | Replay
  • Haskell Invitational (Classic) ⁠
    • July 20, 5 p.m. ET (NBC), Monmouth Park
    • Winner: Maximum Security | Replay
  • Qatar Sussex Stakes (TVG Mile)
    • July 31, 9 a.m. ET (NBCSN), Goodwood Racecourse
    • Winner: Too Darn Hot | Replay
  • Whitney Stakes (Classic) ⁠
    • Aug. 3, 5 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Saratoga Race Course
    • Winner: McKinzie | Replay
  • Fourstardave Handicap (TVG Mile) ⁠
    • Aug. 10, 5 p.m. ET (NBC), Saratoga Race Course
    • Winner: Got Stormy | Replay
  • Juddmonte International Stakes (Classic)
    • Aug. 21, 9 a.m. ET (NBCSN), York Racecourse
    • Winner: Japan | Replay
  • Jockey Club Derby (Longines Turf) ⁠
    • Sept. 7, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC), Belmont Park
    • Winner: Spanish Mission | Replay
  • Runhappy Turf Sprint (Turf Sprint)
    • Sept. 7, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC), Kentucky Downs
    • Winner: Totally Boss | Replay
  • Cotillion Stakes (Longines Distaff) ⁠
    • Sept. 21, 5 p.m. ET (NBC), Parx Racing
    • Winner: Street Band | Replay
  • Rodeo Drive Stakes (Filly & Mare Turf)
    • Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Santa Anita Park
    • Winner: Mirth | Replay
  • Awesome Again Stakes (Classic) ⁠
    • Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Santa Anita Park
    • Winner: Mongolian Groom | Replay
  • Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (TVG Juvenile) ⁠
    • Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Keeneland Race Course
    • Winner: Maxfield | Replay
  • Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (TVG Mile) ⁠
    • Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), Keeneland Race Course
    • Winner: Bowies Hero | Replay
  • Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (Longines Distaff) ⁠
    • Oct. 6, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC), Keeneland Race Course
    • Winner: Blue Prize | Replay
  • Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (Juvenile Turf) ⁠
    • Oct. 6, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC), Keeneland Race Course
    • Winner: Peace Achieved | Replay

Forte works out, waits for Belmont Stakes clearance

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NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.

“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”

Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.

“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”

Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.

Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.

Judge grants Churchill Downs’ request for summary judgment to dismiss Bob Baffert’s lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment that dismisses Bob Baffert’s claim the track breached due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.

Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert in June 2021 after his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to lift the discipline was denied in February, keeping him out of the Derby for a second consecutive May.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. It cited his purse winnings exceeding $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “amounts to a false analogy that distorts caselaw.”

Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery as moot.

The decision comes less than a week after Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown race in two years. His record eighth win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury at Pimlico.

Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.

It added, “While he may choose to file baseless appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, arduous and unnecessary litigation proceedings instigated by Mr. Baffert.”

Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track’s release noted its right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at its conclusion.