July 17, 2024

Breeders’ Cup schedule revamp: all juvenile races set for ‘Future Stars Friday’

The Breeders' Cup statue at Churchill Downs (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

In a move that brings greater cohesiveness to Breeders’ Cup Friday, all five juvenile contests will now be contested on the first of the two-day World Championships, newly branded “Future Stars Friday.” Breeders’ Cup officials announced the scheduling revamp Thursday, with the new order to take effect when Churchill Downs hosts the extravaganza on November 2-3.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Juvenile Fillies (G1) switch to Friday, joining the events for the turf two-year-olds that had become a mainstay on day one. The inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint is also set for the Friday.

To preserve the theme, two of the events for three-year-olds and up formerly held on the Friday – the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and Dirt Mile (G1) – are accordingly transferred to Saturday. That makes for a total of nine Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday.

The table below illustrates the new schedule. While the Juvenile will anchor Breeders’ Cup Friday at 6:05 p.m. (ET), and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) remains the final act on Saturday at 5:44 p.m. note that the entire race order will not be revealed until October 24.

Also noteworthy are the distances of races that can fluctuate, usually depending upon the configuration of the host track. The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) once again stretches out to 1 3/8 miles after its shortest-ever edition going 1 1/8 miles at Del Mar (which could have run it at 1 3/8 miles but chose otherwise). The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and the longstanding Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint will both be contested over 5 1/2 furlongs.

2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships
(Official Race Order to be announced on October 24)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2  “Future Stars Friday” 
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint 2yo, C&G, Fillies 5 1/2 furlongs (T) $1,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) 2yo, Fillies 1 mile (T) $1,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies  (G1) 2yo, Fillies 1 1/16 miles $2,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) 2yo, C&G 1 mile (T) $1,000,000
Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) 2yo, C&G 1 1/16 miles $2,000,000
(10 race program)
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) 3yo & Up, F&M 7 furlongs $1,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) 3yo & Up 5 1/2 furlongs (T) $1,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) 3yo & Up 1 mile $1,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) 3yo & Up, F&M 1 3/8  miles (T) $2,000,000
TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) 3yo & Up 6 furlongs $2,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) 3yo & Up 1 mile (T) $2,000,000
Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) 3yo & Up, F&M 1 1/8 miles $2,000,000
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) 3yo & Up 1 1/2 miles (T) $4,000,000
Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) 3yo & Up 1 1/4 miles $6,000,000
(12 race program)
*Purse Includes Travel Awards

Concentrating the juvenile races on Breeders’ Cup Friday is reminiscent of how British Champions Day, contested on an October Saturday at Ascot, is preceded by a “Future Champions Festival” at Newmarket. The parallel is loose, however, in several respects. Two different British racecourses are involved, the time frame is longer, and supporting contests for older horses remain as part of the Newmarket festivities. The Future Champions Festival itself is two days (October 12-13 this year), a week ahead of Champions Day (October 20).

Nevertheless, letting the two-year-olds – potential classic prospects – have the stage to themselves in advance of the older stars is very much in the same spirit.

Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO, mentioned the international angle in another sense.

“With the increased excitement and international interest in our Juvenile races, ‘Future Stars Friday’ will create an identity to showcase the emerging stars of our sport on the first day of the World Championships.

“Churchill Downs also provides the perfect stage for our fans to witness the potential candidates for next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, as well as standouts competing from overseas.

“We also look forward to the Distaff and Dirt Mile bolstering an already blockbuster line up of World Championship races on Saturday culminating with the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.”