Led by the multiple Group 1 winning 3-year-old Sixties Song (ARG), a field of 12 runners have been entered for Thursday's 1 ½ mile Gran Premio 25 de Mayo (G1) at San Isidro for the first automatic starting position into this year's $4 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) through the international Breeders' Cup Challenge.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of 81 stakes races whose winners receive free berths and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held, for the first time, at the Del Mar race track near San Diego, California, on November 3-4.
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 25 de Mayo to start in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. Breeders' Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the Championships' pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.
Owned by the Santa Elena partnership of husband and wife Alberto Roberti and Monica Lopez, and trained by Gaitan Dassie, Sixties Song is expected to be the heavy favorite on Thursday off her last two impressive scores. A bay son of Sixties Icon (GB) out of Blissful Song by 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled's Song, Sixties Song defeated South America's best grass horses with a 2 ¼-length victory in the 1 ½ mile Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano (G1) at the Valparaiso Sporting Club in Chile on March 5. (Video, from San Isidro)
That victory was less dramatic than in his previous start, when he completed a furious stretch drive to win the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (G1) by a head at San Isidro on December 17 of last year. Sixties Song will be ridden by Juan Villagra from post 11.
Sixties Song is one of three starters for Dassie, who will also saddle thee 3-year-old Don Archi (ARG) (Dario Garcia, post 5) and longshot Full Throttle (BRZ) (Juan Da Silva, post 12). Don Archi was sixth in the Gran Premio Latinoamericano, and was third in last December's Gran Premio Nacional (G1) on dirt.
An intriguing starter is Don Luis's 5-yar-old El Margot (ARG), who will be making his turf debut on Thursday after going 3-for-5 on dirt, including Group 1 wins in the last two editions of the 1 ¼-mile Gran Premio Republica (G1) at Palermo, the most recent one on May 1. El Margot is trained by Enrique Martin Ferro and will be ridden from post 9 by Altair Domingos.
One of the sentimental choices is the 9-year-old gelding Ordak Dan (ARG), who won the Gran Premio 25 de Mayo in 2014 and 2015 for Stud Mysterio and trainer Carly Etchechoury. This year, the bay son of Hidden Truth, finished seventh in the Gran Premio Latinoamericano, and prior to that was third in the 1 ½ mile Gran Premio Miguel Alfredo Martinez de Hoz (G1) at San Isidro. Ordak Dan, ridden by Ortega Pavon from post 3, came to the U.S. in 2015 through his “Win and You're In” triumph in this race, but finished ninth in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland.
The 7-year-old mare Dulce Sam (ARG) (Damian Ramella, post 1) for Stud Santa Ines, and Las Monjitas's 3-year-old Stivers (ARG) (Fabricio Barroso, post 8), the 1,2 finishers from the 1½ -mile Clasico Porteno (G3) on April 23 at San Isidro, have also been entered.
Acero Run (ARG), (Mario Fernandez, post 2); Must Go On (ARG), (Pablo Falero, post 4); Thabor (ARG)(Francisco Fernandez, post 6); Harlan's Blue (ARG), (Gustavo Calvente, post 7) and Frances Net (ARG) (Wilson Moreyra, post 10) complete the field.
The 2017 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, now in its 11th year, is being held at many of the world's premier racetracks in 13 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Japan, Germany, Ireland, Peru, South Africa and the United States.
The Gran Premio 25 de Mayo is the second of five Breeders' Cup Challenge races to be run in South America this year. On May 1, the 4-year-old Kiriaki (ARG) won the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at Palermo and earned an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1).
The international portion of the series began on January 7 in South Africa at Kenilworth Racecourse, when Bela (SAF) won the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1) and qualified for an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and Legal Eagle (SAF) captured the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate (G1) and gained an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Mile.
In February, Gold Dream (JPN) won the February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Race Course and earned free berth into the Breeders' Cup Classic. This month, at Royal Randwick in Australia, Chautauqua (AUS) won the Darley TJ Smith Stakes (G1) (Turf Sprint), It's Somewhat won the Star Doncaster Mile (G1) (Mile), and Foxplay (AUS) won the Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1) (Filly & Mare Turf) on April 8.
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