| Fri 11/08/2017 - 04:56 EDT

2017 Breeders Cup Challenge Key Dates and TV Schedule

2017 Breeders Cup Challenge Key Dates and TV Schedule

Breeders' Cup Challenge Series 2017

With Del Mar playing host to the Breeders' Cup for the first time in the famed track's history November 3-4, the 2017 Cup is generating plenty of interest outside thoroughbred racing's usual niche. Perfect timing for nationally televised audiences to tune in and catch a glimpse of racing's biggest stars competing for an all-expenses-paid spot in a Breeders' Cup race starting gate.

Of the Win and You're In events shown on national television this year, Mor Spirit began the party June 10 when the Bob Baffert trainee galloped to a stunningly easy victory in the Metropolitan Handicap, securing a spot in the Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Mile in the process. Here's a look at the others who punched their tickets while the big cameras were rolling:

Horse Date/Race Won Breeders' Cup Race
Gun Runner June 17/Stephen Foster Classic
Forever Unbridled June 17/Fleur de Lis Distaff
New Money Honey July 8/Belmont Oaks (turf) Filly & Mare Turf
Mind Your Biscuits July 8/Belmont Sprint Sprint
Girvin July 30/Haskell Classic
Gun Runner August 5/Whitney Classic 

With a bevy of nationally televised Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In' events highlighting the late-summer/early-fall racing season, fans looking to gain a wagering edge will have a front row seat thanks to network coverage. Major stakes racing action like the Arlington Million, Beverly D, Pacific Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Shadwell Turf Mile are among the racing jewels to be contested on NBC or NBC Sports Network. Here's a look at what's on tap:

August 12 (6:30-7:30 PM EST on NBC Sports Network)

  • Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf)
  • Arlington Million at Arlington Park (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Turf)

August 19 (8:00-9:00 PM EST on NBC Sports Network)

  • TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Classic

August 26 (4:30-6:00 PM EST on NBC)

  • Sword Dancer at Saratoga Racecourse (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Turf)
  • Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Classic)

September 2 (6:00-7:00 PM EST on NBC Sports Network)

  • Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies)
  • Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Classic)

October 7 (5:00-6:00 PM EST on NBC)

  • Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Classic)
  • Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
  • Shadwell Mile at Keeneland (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Mile)

October 8 (5:00-6:00 PM EST on NBC Sports Network)

  • Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Distaff)
  • Dixiana Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland (Winner qualifies for Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf)

A Closer Look at the Breeders' Cup Challengers

They're all huge in their own right, but setting a reminder on the calendar for the August 19 running of the Pacific Classic is recommended. This race marks Arrogate's next scheduled start and final race before the mighty gray defends his 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Horse of the Year titles. Arrogate looked unbeatable through his first eight starts, losing only his debut before going on to win the Travers, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup in succession while showing every characteristic of brilliance and racking up in excess of $17 million.

He figured to be the shortest price favorite of any Breeders’ Cup Classic contender in the race’s history until his inexplicable fourth-place finish in the San Diego Handicap July 22. Now, bettors trying to figure out the BC Classic picture, must figure out Arrogate.

If the San Diego was an aberration and Arrogate returns to previous form, he should win the Pacific with relative ease no matter who shows up to oppose him. The opposite end of the spectrum is quite volatile as another loss could prove to be the end of Arrogate’s racing career with a promising breeding career awaiting the four year-old star.

Fellow classic hopeful Gun Runner is in top form and following his demolition of the Whitney Handicap field, bettors looking at future wagers may be eager to jump on Gun Runner before the Pacific Classic as another Arrogate loss could easily catapult Gun Runner into favoritism. Conversely, bettors who believe the San Diego was a one-off type of race, can catch Arrogate at much more appealing odds in the future’s market prior to an Arrogate win in the Pacific Classic.

Future bets aside, the remaining “Win and You’re In” races of 2017 will make for great theater and television as the sport’s biggest stars make their way to Del Mar November 3-4 for a Breeders’ Cup weekend that promises to be among the best in the 33-year history of the event.

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