Officials at Breeders’ Cup Limited and The Stronach Group have announced that the Oct. 3 GI Preakness S., the final leg of this year’s reconstituted Triple Crown, has been added to the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series and will offer the winner an all-expenses-paid berth in the starting gate for the GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Nov. 7. It will mark the first time that a Triple Crown races is part of the series.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional first leg of the Triple Crown was postponed from its customary position on the first Saturday in May and was rescheduled for Sept. 5. The New York Racing Association staged the GI Belmont S. as the first of this year’s Triple Crown races June 20. Tiz the Law (Constitution) was the convincing winner of the Belmont, shortened to nine furlongs for this running.
The Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic will both air on NBC.
“We are delighted to join The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club in welcoming the Preakness to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, and that we will be able to provide the winning connections with an added incentive to run in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Drew Fleming, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “As a foundation race of the Triple Crown and the premier event in the proud history of Maryland racing, we look forward to working together with The Stronach Group, and our partners at NBC Sports, to promote an exciting fall season for Thoroughbred racing.”
Added Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, Racing Operations, 1/ST: “The events of 2020 have for all of us been about responding to unforeseen challenges and making the best of them. Many of those challenges–including the changes to the Triple Crown–have been unwelcome, but becoming part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is most welcome and a fitting finale to the 3-year-old season as the horses and their connections make their way to Baltimore for the last leg of the Triple Crown. We look forward to hosting the best of America’s three-year-old horses on Oct. 3 at the Preakness and to enjoying their success thereafter in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
“With terrific racing ahead, we’re excited that the two biggest events of the fall months will be further connected with the Preakness Stakes winner earning a coveted berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC and NBCSN.