FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 5th, 2018
BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE SERIES CONTINUES WITH DWYER STAKES, BELMONT OAKS & BELMONT SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SATURDAY LIVE AT 4:30 PM ET ON NBC
NEW YORK (July 5, 2018) – Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn headlines the Dwyer Stakes for 3-year-olds this Saturday, July 7, from Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on NBC beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. The 90-minute live broadcast, part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing,” will also include the $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship and the $1 million Belmont Oaks. Saturday’s blockbuster stakes program of the “Stars and Stripes Festival” at Belmont Park marks the third of 11 telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In Series” on NBC and NBCSN from some of America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 2-3 on NBC and NBCSN. Complete series TV schedule can be accessed here:http://www.breederscup.com/challenge-series
NBC’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series on Saturday will be hosted by Laffit Pincay III, who will be joined by analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, as well as handicapper Eddie Olczyk and reporter Donna Brothers.
Mendelssohn, owned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, and trained by Aidan O’Brien, will be making his first start since his disastrous run in the Kentucky Derby, where he was bumped at the start and finished last of 20 horses over a sloppy track as the third betting choice in the field. O’Brien has plotted a U.S. course for redemption for Mendelssohn, beginning with the Dwyer, that will ultimately lead back to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. Ridden by Ryan Moore in the $300,000 Dwyer at one mile, Mendelssohn hopes to return to the form which brought him victories in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, and his versatility for dirt racing, when he was astounding in capturing the UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai in March by 18 ½ lengths. Among the six challengers for Mendelssohn are Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy from the barn of Todd Pletcher, ridden by John Velasquez, , and Mendelssohn’s stablemate, Seahenge, ridden by Javier Castellano, who was seventh last time out in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs.
The winner of the $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship at seven furlongs will earn an automatic berth into the $2 million Twin Spires Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Saturday’s race is led by the 5-year-old Whitmore, a winner of 10 career races for trainer Ron Moquett, including this year’s Count Fleet Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount. A major threat is likely to come from the 6-year-old multiple-stakes winner Limousine Liberal, trained by Ben Colebrook, who won the Churchill Downs Stakes in May, and was third most recently in Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap at one mile on Belmont Stakes Day. Jose Ortiz will ride Limousine Liberal.
An international cast of 10 3-year-old fillies will line up for the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational at 1 ¼ miles on turf, led by Michael Dubb and Green Point Stables’ Thewayiam. Bred in France, Thewayiam has won five of her 10 career starts, including two stakes races at Gulfstream Park this winter for trainer Graham Motion. Stephanie Seymour Brant’s Significant Form has a win over the Belmont course in last year’s Miss Grillo Stakes. Trained by Chad Brown, Significant Form finished fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and returned five months later to win her 2018 debut in the Memories of Silver at Aqueduct. Thewayiam finished second in her last start, the Wonder Again Stakes at Belmont on June 7.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races (13 Grade 1 events) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN, Golf Channel, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital, which includes NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com, GolfChannel.com, the digital assets of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, Rotoworld, the NBC Sports Talk franchise, multiple apps, and two transactional sports businesses, GolfNow and SportsEngine. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, The R&A, PGA of America, Churchill Downs, NYRA, Breeders’ Cup, Premier League, INDYCAR, Rugby World Cup, Six Nations Championship, Tour de France, French Open, and many more.