ARCADIA, Calif. (March 22, 2012)—The Breeders’ Cup announced today that the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series will consist of 73 automatic qualifying races into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, to be run at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2 & 3. This year’s series has been expanded to 10 countries and will feature 13 new races on a schedule that includes 52 Grade or Group I events. Breeders’ Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners into the Championships.

Santa Anita will host six Challenge races during the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Challenge season beginning with the Grade I Goodwood Stakes on Sept. 29.

Horses from around the world will be eligible to qualify for the 29th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be televised live from Santa Anita on the NBC Sports Network. The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be shown live in primetime on over-the-air NBC from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., PT, on Nov. 3.

Santa Anita will host the following Breeders’ Cup Challenge races:

DATE..............................RACE.................................BC QUALIFYING RACE
Sept. 29, 2012......... Goodwood Stakes (GI)...............Classic
Sept. 29, 2012..........Lady’s Secret Stakes (GI)..........Ladies’ Classic
Sept. 29, 2012..........Norfolk Stakes (GI)...................Juvenile
Sept. 29, 2012..........Yellow Ribbon Stakes (GI).........Filly & Mare Turf
Sept. 30, 2012..........Oak Leaf Stakes (GI)................Juvenile Fillies
Oct. 6, 2012..............Ancient Title Stakes (GI)..........Sprint

“We are thrilled to have been selected to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships here at Santa Anita for the sixth time,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “We feel we have the best venue in the world for this event and we’re looking forward to working with NBC and putting on another great two-day show in November.”

The expanded Challenge series, now in its sixth year, will be held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan and South Africa. This year’s series began in January in South Africa.

The first North American race of the series will be the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 28. The winner will earn an automatic berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Among the highlights of this year’s series are:

• As part of the enhanced benefits program for Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners introduced last year, the Breeders’ Cup again will pay the entry fees of all Challenge winners starting in the Championships and provide a travel allowance of $20,000 to the winning connections of each Challenge winner from outside of North America and a $10,000 travel allowance for winners of Challenge races held in North America. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 22 to receive the rewards. Last year, 35 winners of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races participated in the World Championships.

• The 2012 series will feature 13 new races: L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa (run Jan. 7); Gran Premio 25 de Mayo (G1) at San Isidro in Argentina on May 25 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 16; Personal Ensign Stakes (GI) at Saratoga on Aug. 26; Longines Grosser Preis von Baden from Baden-Baden in Germany (G1) on Sept. 2; Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap (GII) on Sept. 22, Pilgrim Stakes (GIII) and Miss Grillo Stakes (GIII) at Belmont Park, both on Oct. 7; Bourbon Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland on Oct.7; Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) on Sept. 29 and EMAAR Middle Park Stakes (G1) on Oct. 13, both at Newmaket in England; Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (G2) from The Curragh in Ireland on Sept. 30 and the Prix de la Foret (G1) at Longchamp on Oct. 7.

• There will be six automatic berths for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Classic qualifiers, all Grade I races, begin on June 16 with the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. The Stephen Foster will be followed by the Hollywood Gold Cup from Hollywood Park on July 7; the Whitney Handicap from Saratoga on August 4; the TVG Pacific Classic from Del Mar on August 26; the Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park and the Goodwood Handicap from Santa Anita Park, both on September 29.

For the second consecutive year, the Breeders’ Cup will pay foal nominators of Challenge winners a $10,000 award.

“Expanding the global reach and upgrading the quality of races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series are critical factors in increased participation and in generating awareness for the Breeders’ Cup in the months leading to our Championships,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited. “We also look forward to horsemen taking advantage of our incentive program of free entries and travel allowances for Challenge winners into the World Championships, which was very well received last year.”

About Breeders’ Cup Limited

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championship races. The 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 15 races and purses and awards totaling $25 million will be held Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Network. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.