The formidable duo of Stud Firmamento's Bamb Harlan (ARG) and Halo Holiday (ARG), both 4-year-old daughters of Harlan's Holiday, headline a field of 15 fillies and mares entered for Wednesday's (May 1) 1¼-mile Gran Premio Criadores (G1) on dirt at Hipodromo Argentino. The winner of the Gran Premio Criadores will receive the first automatic starting position into this year's $2 million Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) through the international Breeders' Cup Challenge.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 stakes races whose winners receive free berths and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on November 1-2.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Gran Premio Criadores to start in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff. Breeders' Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. If not Breeders' Cup eligible, the Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 21 of next year to receive the rewards.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, now in its 13th year, will be held at many of the world's premier racetracks in 11 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Japan, Ireland, Peru, South Africa and the United States.
The Gran Premio Criadores is the second of five Breeders' Cup Challenge races to be run in South America for the 2019 season. Il Mercato (ARG) qualified for the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf when he won the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (G1) last December at San Isidro.
Bamb Harlan and Halo Holiday are both trained by Nicolas Gaitan. Bamb Holiday, ridden from post 5 by Luciano Cabrera, comes into Wednesday's race off three wins in her last five starts, including back to back scores. She captured the one-mile Clasico Benito Villanueva (G2) at Palermo on April 6 by a half-length at 7.9-1. Prior to that, Bamb Harlan, who is out of Bamb Halo (ARG), took the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Los Criadores (G2) at La Plata on December 11.
Making her first start since December 27, stablemate Halo Holiday, will break just inside of Bamb Harlan from post 4 under jockey Francisco Goncalves. Bamb Holiday finished third in last year's Gran Premio Criadores, beaten four lengths as the 5-1 second choice. She returned to the races in the spring, first winning the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Jockey Club De Rosario (G3) at La Plata on October 9, and took the runner-up spot in the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Los Haras (G2) at San Isidro on October 27. However, Halo Holiday, out of Cuidadosa Halo (ARG), has finished out of the money in her last two starts. First stepping up into Group 1 competition, Halo Holiday was fifth in the Gran Premio Copa de Plata at San Isidro on December 8 and was fourth in the Clasico Clausuro (G2) at La Plata in her last start of 2018.
An accomplished turf filly, Los Patrios's 3-year-old Seas Alabada, trained by Fabio Cacciabue, will be making the transition to dirt on Wednesday. A bay daughter of Sebi Halo (ARG) out of Calling You (ARG) by Colonial Affair, Seas Alabada has won four races in seven starts dating back to March of last year. She was second last November in the one-mile Clasico Carlos Rodriguez (G2) and one month later, finished fourth in the Group 1 Grand Prix la Plata at San Isidro at 1 ¼ miles. In her first start of 2019, Seas Alabada, ridden from post 10 by Damian Ramella, won the 1 1/8-mile Clasica Pasaena on April 13.
Among the other contenders, City and the Sex (ARG) was second last time out in the 1 3/8-mile Gran Prix Gilberto Lerena (G1) on April 6. A 3-year-old by Equal Stripes (ARG), City and the Sex, trained by Enrique Martin Ferro, won the ungraded 1 3/8-mile Tirolesca by one length, also at Palermo, as the 1.8-1 favorite. Gustavo Calvente will ride, breaking from post 2.
Also of interest is Stud Manija's 4-year-old Irisa (ARG), who has been solid in two starts this year. Trained by Agustin Pavlovsky and ridden from post 12 by Anibal Cabrera, the bay daughter of Pure Prize out of the Orpen mare Irwina (ARG) was a two-length winner of the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Arturo R. and Arturo Bullrich (G2) on March 9 at Palermo, and was third last time out in the Gran Prix Gilberto Lerena.
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