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Preakness winner to get automatic bid into Breeders’ Cup Classic

The winner of the 145th Preakness Stakes on Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore will earn an automatic starting position into the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Officials of the Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group made the announcement Monday, marking the first time that a Triple Crown race will be a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series on Nov. 7.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into corresponding races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held this year on Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. The $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, contested at 1 ¼ miles.

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Due to scheduling changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Preakness date was shifted from May 16 to Oct. 3, and will be run as the third jewel of the 2020 Triple Crown. This year’s Triple Crown began on June 20 with the Belmont Stakes, won by Tiz the Law, at Belmont Park, and will be followed by the Kentucky Derby, which will be run on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Both the Preakness, run at 1 3/16 miles for 3-year-olds, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will be broadcast live on NBC.

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“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.”

Four Preakness winners have won the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. In 2015, American Pharoah swept the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland to become racing’s first “Grand Slam” winner. Preakness winners Sunday Silence (1989), Alysheba (1987) and Curlin (2007) also won the Classic. Alysheba captured the Classic in 1988.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the $150,000 in entry fees for the Preakness winner to start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which is limited to 14 starters. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of $10,000 for all North American starters based outside of Kentucky to compete in the World Championships. The Preakness winner must already be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 26 to receive the rewards.

There are six horses who have thus far earned automatic starting positions into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Mozu Ascot, winner of the February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse on Feb. 23; Tom’s d’Etat, who took the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 27; Authentic, winner of the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 18; Improbable, who won the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 1; Ghaiyyath (IRE), winner of the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York on Aug. 19 in Great Britain and Maximum Security, who won the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 22.

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