NBC Plans July 8 Breeders' Cup Challenge Broadcast

NBC coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Led by multiple Grade 1-winning 4-year-old Mind Your Biscuits, a top flight field of some of the nation’s best sprinters have been entered for the seven-furlong, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship this Saturday, July 8 from Belmont Park live at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC for a berth into the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The broadcast will be presented as part of “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing.”

Saturday’s 90-minute program, a part of Belmont’s Stars and Stripes Festival, is the third of 11 telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing," on NBC and NBCSN, featuring 17 “Win And You’re In” races plus other major stakes on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Nov. 3-4, at the Del Mar race track outside San Diego, which will also be televised by the NBC Sports Group. Saturday’s show also will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app. Winners of these Challenge races, which combined offer more than $10 million in purses, automatically qualify for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup.

In addition to the Belmont Sprint Championship, Saturday’s program will also include the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) for 3-year-old fillies on the turf, and the 1 1/16- mile $400,000 Dwyer (G3) for 3-year-olds.

Laffit Pincay III hosts the telecast, and will be joined by Hall of Fame jockey and analyst Jerry Bailey, analyst Randy Moss, and reporter Donna Brothers. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier will serve as the Handicapper.

In the Belmont Sprint, the 9-5 favored Mind Your Biscuits, owned by J Stables LLC, Head of the Plains Partners, Summers et al, and trained by Chad Summers, will be making his first start since he won the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen Stakes (G1) at Meydan Race Course in Dubai by three lengths on March 25 for his fifth career win. A chestnut son of Posse, Mind Your Biscuits finished third in last year’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (moved up to second following the disqualification of Masochistic) and closed out the year with his first career Grade 1 win by capturing the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park on December 26. Mind Your Biscuits will break from post two under jockey Joel Rosario.

Mind Your Biscuits lost his first start of the year by a neck in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) to Centennial Farms’s 4-year-old Unified, the 5-2 second choice. Trained by Jim Jerkens, Unified has won four of his six career starts, including the Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park last year. He finished second by a neck in the Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct on April 8. Unified will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post seven.

Breaking from the No. 1 post positon is the co-5-1 third choice, Stallwalkin’ Dude, a 7-year-old gelding making his 54th career start. He is owned by David Jacobson and Head of the Plains Partners, and trained by Jacobson. Since finishing sixth in the Golden Shaheen, Stallwakin’ Dude won the six-furlong Diablo Stakes at Belmont on May 7 and followed that effort with a second-place finish in the True North (G2) on Belmont Stakes Day. Stallwalkin Dude will be ridden by Flavian Prat.

Also slotted at 5-1 on the morning line is Live Oak Plantation’s 4-year-old Awesome Slew. A bay son of the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, Awesome Slew won the seven-furlong Commonwealth Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in April, and finished second by a head in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) on May 6. Trained by Mark Casse and ridden from post five by John Velazquez, Awesome Slew was recently fourth in the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day. Also of interest is the front-running Green Gratto, (Irad Ortiz, Jr., post six) who won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap by a neck over Unified at 54-1 for trainer and co-owner Grant Gaston.

In the 1¼ mile Belmont Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, trainer Chad Brown has entered four of the 12 starters including New Money Honey, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner and Sistercharlie (IRE), a recent European arrival, who was second by a length in the Prix de Diane Longines (G1) at Chantilly on June 18.

Battalion Runner, second in the Wood Memorial (G2), is the 6-5 favorite in the Dwyer for Todd Pletcher.

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