Breeders’ Cup® Challenge Series: Jockey Club Gold Cup

By Victoria Barnett | October 05, 2015

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win & You’re In™ for the Breeders’ Cup Classic wrapped up on October 3 with the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

The four-year-old Tonalist raced with ease and gained a victory at the Gold Cup for the second year in a row.  

Jockey John Velasquez settled Tonalist near the rear of the six-horse field while Constitution, closely followed by Wicked Strong, set the pace through the first six furlongs. Wicked Strong assumed the lead, but upon entering the stretch, Tonalist exploded and finished 4 ¾ lengths ahead. The Tapit colt covered the
1 1/4 miles in 2:02.16.

Robert S. Evans’ Tonalist earned an automatic spot in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic coming up on October 31.

"I'm delighted for Mr. Evans," trainer Christophe Clement said. "Obviously, he believed in us all along. And mostly I'm delighted for the horse; I've never lost my faith in the horse. I never thought he was disappointing, he was a bit unlucky for the year, but the way he won today was very impressive.


"I was very happy with the way he was traveling. He always looked very comfortable. I thought that at any stage of the race, he could've taken them on. He's back to what I always believed. He's a top-class horse."

Tonalist joins an impressive group of automatic entries into the Breeders’ Cup Classic: American Pharoah, Beholder, Hard Aces, Smooth Roller and Honor Code. Noble Bird, who won the Stephen Foster Handicap, is out of training due to injury and will not be competing in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Watch the recap of the Jockey Club Gold Cup below!

Image courtesy of Breeders' Cup

How the Breeders’ Cup® Works

There are a few different ways to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup. The first is by winning a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win & You’re In™ consists of 78 stakes races. Winning one of these races automatically earns you entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup Championship race and also waives entry and starting fees.

There is a total of seven challenge races for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the last of which was the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The series for the Classic has now wrapped up; seven horses gained an automatic entry, although one will not be competing.   

The second way to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup is based on a points system, where horses are ranked based on their performance in major races during the year. Points are awarded based on the race quality and then by win, place and show (first, second and third place finishes). Take a look at the scale below:





Grade 1




Grade 2




Grade 3




The third way to gain entry to the Breeders’ Cup is to be selected by a panel of experts. For each Breeders’ Cup Championship race, there are a maximum of 14 horses selected. Seven of those horses qualify through Challenge races or the points system. Seven are selected by experts. The reasoning for this method of qualifying is to ensure the highest quality of competition for each of the races.

Attend the 2015 Breeders’ Cup®

With Tonalist’s victory, we now have six horses aiming for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic! With the competition so high, it’s definitely one event horse-racing fans are dying to attend. Limited tickets remain so you need to act fast!

With an Official Ticket Package direct from Breeders’ Cup and QuintEvents, you can be there to witness the action of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup! Get an unbeatable experience that includes tickets, hospitality, exclusive insider extras and much more. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to head to the heart of the Bluegrass State in October and see some of the best horses compete at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup!

Here's what you have to look forward to at the World Championships!

Go to the 2015 Breeders' Cup!