Horses can't be entered into the Breeder's Cup Championship races; they must either qualify or be selected by a panel of experts and pay the entry fee. To qualify, a horse must win a Breeder's Cup challenge race or be ranked high enough on an established points system.
Winning a challenge race is the best way for a horse to get into the Breeder's Cup. Challenge races are held from January through October at race tracks across the country. Winning one of these races guarantees automatic entry into the Breeder's Cup and the highest rankings for the cup races.
The second-best method to gain entry is with the points scale. This method measures the horse's performance in major races throughout the year. Points are accumulated for a win, place or show and adjusted for the quality of the race. The most points available are for a win at a top-graded race.
Half of the field is comprised of challenge race winners and the top point scores. The other half of the field is selected by a panel of experts to help ensure the highest quality field of horses possible. There are 13 Breeder's Cup championship races, and each qualifying or selected horse can enter a maximum of two races.