Victoria Mile, Next Start for Almond Eye, Added to BC Challenge Series

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Almond Eye | Horsephotos

Officials at Breeders’ Cup Limited and the Japan Racing Association have announced that the $2.1-million G1 Victoria Mile, to be held next Sunday, May 17, at Tokyo Racecourse, has been added to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series and will offer the winner a fees-paid berth into the GI Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland Nov. 7.

A total of 19 horses have been nominated to the 1600-meter event, led by 2018 Japanese Horse of the Year Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), who is scheduled to make her 5-year-old debut and will face female-restricted company for the first time since winning the G1 Shuka Sho in October 2018. Almond Eye’s planned reappearance in the G1 Dubai Turf was snuffed out when the race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Normcore (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), who defeated Primo Scene (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in last year’s race, are also set to do battle, as is the once-beaten Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who validated 3-1 favoritism in last year’s G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks).

The Victoria Mile is the second of four races through which Japanese-based horses can earn Breeders’ Cup berths. Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}) qualified for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic with his victory in the G1 February S., while the June 7 G1 Yasuda Kinen (GI Breeders’ Cup Mile) and June 28 G1 Takarazuka Kinen (GI Breeders’ Cup Turf) remain on the schedule. The Victoria Mile replaces the G1 Sprinters’ S. on the Breeders’ Cup Challenge calendar.

“We greatly thank the JRA for their partnership as we look to strengthen the roster of automatic qualifiers in Japan this year,” said Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Officer. “Adding the Victoria Mile into the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series provides a new opportunity to participate on racing’s greatest stage for owners and trainers in Japan.”

Added Masayuki Goto, president and CEO of the JRA: “We are quite honored to have one of our Grade 1 races to be added to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. Also, we greatly appreciate that Breeders’ Cup highly values the quality of our races and horses. I firmly believe the renewed format of the series will encourage more participation from our horses in one of the most prestigious events of the entire global racing calendar.”

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