LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2021) ― The “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” comes to Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky for a blockbuster weekend of top Thoroughbreds competing for final automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships with three live telecasts on NBCSN. The action begins on Friday, Oct. 8 (5-6 p.m. ET) featuring the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) and continues, on Saturday, Oct. 9 (5-6 p.m. ET) with the $750,000 Keeneland Turf Mile (G1) headlined by Order of Australia (IRE), winner of last year’s FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1). Saturday’s program will also include the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1). The weekend concludes on Sunday, Oct. 10 (4:30-6 p.m. ET) with the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1), led by the nation’s top older female Letruska.
The three programs mark the 10th, 11th, and 12th telecasts this year in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” on NBC and NBCSN from some of North America’s most iconic racetracks. The television series, which concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Keeneland with the JPMorgan Jessamine Stakes (G2) (NBCSN 4-5 p.m. ET), leads to the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California, on Nov. 5-6, which will be shown live on NBC and NBCSN. The complete series TV schedule can be accessed here.
NBC Sports’ coverage for all three telecasts feature commentary and discussion from its International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., led by host Ahmed Fareed, analyst Randy Moss, and handicapper Matt Bernier. Reporters Britney Eurton and Nick Luck will be on-site at Keeneland.
A field of 12 has been entered for Friday’s 1 1/16-mile Darley Alcibiades, for 2-year-old fillies, with the winner receiving an automatic berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The Albaugh Family Stables’ Juju’s Map is the 5-2 morning line favorite off her commanding 5 ½-length maiden victory at Ellis Park on Sept. 3. Trained by Brad Cox, Juju’s Map will be ridden by Florent Geroux from post one. Breaking from the outside post 12 is Jim McIngvale’s Runup. A daughter of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Runhappy, the Laura Wohlers-trained Runup won the Sorority Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Sept. 6 for her second victory in three starts. Runup will be ridden by Joseph Ramos. Trainer Kenny McPeek has won the Alcibiades five times. On Friday, he sends out Milam Farm’s Penny Saver, who broke her maiden by a widening 9 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs on Sept. 24. Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount, breaking from post 10.
A “Win and You’re In” berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) will be awarded to the winner of the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2), which will be run prior to the Darley Alcibiades. Paradise Farm Corp. and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve, a winner of four races this year, leads the seven-horse field. Trained by Mike Maker and ridden from post six by Joel Rosario, Special Reserve finished second in Keeneland’s Commonwealth Stakes (G3) in April, then won the Maryland Match Series Sprint Stakes (G3) at Pimlico, and the Iowa Sprint Stakes at Prairie Meadows, prior to finishing second in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on July 31. Griffon Farms and Michelle Lovell’s homebred Just Might has won his last four races. Trained by Lovell, Just Might comes into the race off a frontrunning victory in the Louisville Thoroughbred Society Stakes at Churchill Downs on Sept. 18. Just Might will be ridden by Colby Hernandez from post four.
Saturday’s card at Keeneland is headlined by the Keeneland Turf Mile, which drew an outstanding field of 13 bidding for an automatic starting position in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1). Order of Australia returns to Keeneland where last year he came off the also-eligible list to win the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile at 70-1. Trained by Aidan O’Brien for owners Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Anne Marie O’Brien, Order of Australia won the Romanised Minstrel Stakes (G2) at The Curragh in Ireland in July, and was second in the prestigious Prix de Moulin de Longchamp (G1) in his most recent start on Sept. 5. John Velazquez has the mount from post 10.
Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I’s Ivar (BRZ) is the defending Turf Mile Champion, winning the 2020 race at 14-1. Trained by Pablo Lobo, Ivar finished fourth in last year’s FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile. In his lone start of 2021, Ivar finished sixth in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 1. Joe Talamo has the mount, breaking from post six. Trainer Mike Maker has entered three runners, including Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s Somelikeithotbrown, who won the Dinner Party Stakes (G2) at Pimlico in May and has finished second in his last two starts, the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill Downs and the WinStar Mint Million Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 6. Joe Ortiz will ride, breaking from post 13.
Saturday’s co-feature is the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, and the winner receives an invitation to the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1). Among the 13 entered, Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Double Thunder has won three times in four stats for trainer Todd Pletcher, including the Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs and the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 5. L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Stellar Tap broke his maiden at Saratoga on Aug. 7 and gave Steve Asmussen his 9,446th victory, setting the all-time mark for most wins by a trainer. Stellar Tap, ridden from post three by Ricardo Santana Jr., will try to improve upon his fifth-place finish as the even-money favorite in the “Win and You’re In”’ Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 18.
St. George Stable’s 5-year-old mare Letruska has had a sensational year, winning five of six races, and is expected to lead Sunday’s Juddmonte Spinster Stakes, which is a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska gained a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup Distaff when she captured the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in June. She also captured two more Breeders’ Cup Challenge races, taking the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs and the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga. Juddmonte’s Bonny South finished just a half-length behind Letruska in the Personal Ensign. The 4-year-old filly won Keeneland’s Baird Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) in April.
Also on Sunday, the 1 1/16-mile Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes (G2) on turf will give the winner an automatic starting position into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Among the expected starters is Silverton Hill’s Red Danger, who won the Global Tote Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 9 for trainer Bryan Lynch, and Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Tiz the Bomb, winner of the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile Stakes on Sept. 6 for trainer Kenny McPeek.
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