August 8, 2022

Belmont Park’s Futurity among three new Breeders’ Cup Challenge races for Juvenile Turf Sprint

Four days after Shang Shang Shang booked her spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint with a victory in the new race’s first “Win and You’re In” event, the Norfolk S. (G2) at Royal Ascot, Breeders’ Cup officials on Monday revealed that three additional stakes will offer automatic berths to the $1 million prize.

Belmont Park’s historic Futurity will be transferred to the turf to join the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. Scheduled for October 6, the $150,000 race retains its six-furlong distance. The Breeders’ Cup press release indicates that it will be restricted to two-year-old males.

Santa Anita will host a new divisional stakes to be named later. Although details will be forthcoming, the date has been set at October 6.

Keeneland is establishing the $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes to be run October 7. The open race for two-year-olds will be staged at 5 1/2 furlongs, the same distance as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Officials from each track commented on the developments.

Martin Panza, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, the New York Racing Association:

“NYRA has a very strong turf two-year-old program. We provide many turf opportunities starting in mid-May for turf two-year-olds and are pleased to participate in this Breeders’ Cup endeavor with the winner of the Futurity receiving an automatic berth into the Juvenile Turf Sprint.”

Rick Hammerle, Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary, Santa Anita Park:

“We are evaluating the optimal conditions for this new Juvenile Turf Sprint division and will be creating a new race to provide ‘Win and You’re In’ opportunities for our West Coast horsemen.”

Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston:

“The Indian Summer Stakes is an exciting addition to Keeneland’s blockbuster Fall Stars Weekend. Keeneland’s Fall Meet has produced the winners of 47 Breeders’ Cup races since the inaugural World Championships in 1984, and we are honored to be part of the buildup to its newest event, the Juvenile Turf Sprint.”

Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup Senior Vice President of Racing and Nominations:

“We look forward to establishing a late fall stakes program of automatic qualifiers with three major racetrack partners to provide ‘Win and You’re In’ opportunities for the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. We thank the Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association and the Stronach Group at Santa Anita for their support of this turf division and expanded participation in the Challenge series.”

The Juvenile Turf Sprint “Win and You’re In” events bring up the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series total to 85. Aside from ensuring a spot in the starting gate, Challenge winners also have their entry fees paid.

Part of the inaugural “Future Stars Friday” that features all of the Breeders’ Cup races for juveniles on Day 1 of the championships, the November 2 Juvenile Turf Sprint will have a maximum of 12 starters.