NEW YORK (Sept. 19, 2019) – The $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for 3-year-olds, led by Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, and the $1 million Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, led by the undefeated Guarana, headline the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series – Presented by America’s Best Racing” broadcast this Saturday, Sept. 21 live on NBC at 5 p.m. ET from Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa.
Saturday’s one-hour program from outside Philadelphia marks the eighth of 11 telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In Series – Presented by America’s Best Racing” on NBC and NBCSN from some of America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 1-2 on NBC and NBCSN. Complete series TV schedule can be accessed here: http://www.breederscup.com/challenge-series
NBC Sports’ coverage of the two Grade 1 races will feature commentary and discussion led by: Randy Moss, Jerry Bailey, Nick Luck, Britney Eurton, and Matt Bernier.
Gary Barber’s War of Will was a troubled and well-publicized eighth in the Kentucky Derby (moved up to seventh) then returned to win the Preakness for trainer Mark Casse. War of Will, who is 4-for-12 lifetime, also won the LeComte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans this winter, but has disappointed in his last two starts, running ninth in the Belmont in June and fifth in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (G2) July 27.
WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, and Starlight Racing’s Improbable is the 8-5 favorite for the Pennsylvania Derby, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles. Improbable was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby (G1) after running second in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) earlier this year, but was a trouble-free fifth for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of City Zip then followed that up with a sixth as the favorite in the Preakness before bypassing the Belmont and aiming for a late-summer and fall campaign. Improbable returned to win the Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes on Aug. 25, his first win of the year.
Allied Racing Stable’s Mr. Money will step up in class following four lopsided grade 3 victories for trainer Bret Calhoun, most recently by six lengths in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer park Aug.3. The son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Goldencents, clearly rates as the now horse, as he’s won those four starts by a combined 20 ¼ lengths.
The “Win and You’re In” Cotillion, run at 1 1/16 miles, is shaping up as one of the best races in the 3-year-old filly ranks this year, and will give the winner an automatic berth into the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Three Chimneys Farm’s Guarana is putting her undefeated record on the line for trainer Chad Brown. The daughter of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Ghostzapper, favored at 9-5, has been a dynamo in her three starts, winning her debut at Keeneland in April by 14 ¾ lengths, Belmont Park’s Acorn (G1) in June by 6 lengths, and then went wire-to-wire in taking Saratoga’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) July 19.
Competition runs deep, however, with Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress taking another shot at Guarana after she set a torrid pace and was a clear second in the Acorn. The daughter of Alteration won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs in May for trainer Tom Amoss and has been as impressive in defeat as she has in victory, most notably a super second-place finish in Saratoga’s Test (G1) Aug. 3. Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina, who won the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) in April for trainer Simon Callaghan but was just fifth in the Kentucky Oaks and a distant third in the Test, brings some star power, as does DJ Stable’s Jaywalk, who won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita for trainer John Servis but is just 1-for-5 since.
About Breeders’ Cup
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 Championships races. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races (13 Grade 1 events and one Grade 2 race) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Royal Ascot, and Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown. The 2019 Kentucky Derby posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms – up 10% from last year’s race (15.0 million) featuring eventual Triple Crown winner Justify and marking television’s largest Saturday audience since the NFL Divisional Playoffs (Jan. 12, 2019).