Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Filly & Mare Turf Berth On The Line In Peru

Stud El Castillo’s Esperanza Blanca and Stud Ehden’s Sissy Chanel, the first two finishers in the Clasico Republica Argentina (G3), lead 14 starters in Saturday’s 1 ¼-mile Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) at Hipodromo Monterrico in Peru. The Gran Premio Pamplona winner will receive an automatic berth into this year’s US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Gran Premio Pamplona winner to start in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 3/8 miles at Del Mar. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.

Esperanza Blanca, bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, is a 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Grey Swallow (IRE). In the May 29 Republica Argentina, Esperanza Blanca, trained by David Prieto, came from fourth place inside the final furlong and wore down her rivals in deep stretch to finish a length ahead of Sissy Chanel. That was her fourth career victory and her first triumph in four starts this year. In her three previous stakes races in 2021, she finished third and then had two runner-up placings. Victor Salazar will ride Esperanza Blanca, breaking from post seven.

Sissy Chanel, bred in Kentucky by Azienda Agricola Valle Falcone, was Peru’s champion turf mare of 2020. Sissy Chanel also has an impressive Breeders’ Cup pedigree: A 4-year-old chestnut daughter of 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Tapizar out of Passing By (GB) by 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Raven’s Pass. Trained by Juan Suarez, Sissy Chanel won four consecutive turf races last year at Monterrico, culminating with a 1 ¼-length triumph in the 9-furlong Clasico Mary July in October. She began this year with a second-place finish to Grenas (PER) in the Clasico Ala Moana on Jan. 29, but returned on March 27 and posted a 2 ½-length victory over Esperanza Blanca in the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Ernesto Ayulo Pardo. A winner of six races in nine turf starts, Sissy Chanel will be ridden by Martin Chuan from post three.

The 7-year-old Grenas, a homebred of Haras Los Azahares, has won 10 races. A gray daughter of Meal Penalty out of Belle Breeze by Powerscourt (GB), Grenas comes into the race off a victory by a head in the 1-mile Clasico Sambi at Monterrico on May 12. Trained by Andreas Arredondo, the Sambi win came after four consecutive defeats following her triumph in the Ala Moana. Ronald Ramos has the mount on Grenas, breaking from post one.

Stud Arriba Arequipa’s gray/roan 3-year-old Reina de Mollendo (ARG) has won three of her five starts for trainer Luis Olivares, but will be stepping back into stakes company following two easy allowance sprint victories over the course. A gray/roan filly by Mastercraftsman (IRE), Reina de Mollendo finished second by 1 ¼ lengths to stablemate Salmation (PER) in a 1 1/8-mile allowance on May 28, which was her most recent start. Miguel Vilcarima will ride Reina de Mollendo from post 10.

Stud El Herraje’s 3-year-old Salmation, Peru’s 2020 champion turf 3-year-old filly, captured 1 ¼-mile Clasico Oscar Berckemeyer Pazos (G3) last October. After three defeats this year, Salmation, also trained by Olivares, returned to the winner’s circle with back-to-back allowance scores at 1 1/8 miles on May 1 and May 28 at Monterrico. Salmation will be ridden by Carlos Herrera from post five.

Another intriguing starter, making her turf debut after six races on dirt, is Stud Augusta’s 3-year-old Quinta Nota. Bred in Kentucky by Charles Fipke, this dark bay or brown daughter of Tale of Ekati won the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Enrique Ayulo Pardo, a Group 1, by 4 ¾ lengths last October in her second start. Trained by Alfonso Arias Rodriguez and ridden from post 14 by Roy Melgarejo, Quinta Nota lost her next three races before capturing the 1 1/8-mile Clasico Portadora by 3 ½ lengths on May 21.

The Gran Premio Pamplona is the third “Win and You’re In” race in this year’s Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf division. Queen Supreme (SAF) was the first to gain a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf when she won the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa on Jan. 9. Gran Alegria (JPN) was the next horse to receive an invitation when she captured the Victoria Mile (G1) on May 16 at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan.

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