Stud Starbucks’ Smart Choice (ARG) swept powerfully down the stretch at Hipodromo de Monterrico on Sunday and caught La Divina (CHI) at the wire for a quarter-length victory in the 1 ¼-mile Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) and earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
(Race Video courtesy of Monterrico Racecourse https://youtu.be/qShnRjsHadU)
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 82 stakes races, whose winners -receive automatic starting positons and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 2-3.
Miky Chamy of Stud Starbucks confirmed to Breeders’ Cup South American representative John Fulton that Smart Choice, a 4-year-old bay daughter of Grand Reward out of the Victory Speech mare Sweet Victory (ARG), will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Smart Choice to start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which this year will be run at 1 3/8 miles. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
In the Pamplona, Smart Choice, trained by Juan Suarez and ridden by Martin Chuan from post 14, stayed in the rear of the field until the final three furlongs. Chuan then swung Smart Choice wide and away from traffic and she responding, passing 10 horses near the grandstand side of the track and was just in time to catch the 3-year-old La Divina at the wire.
Zurda (KY) finished third, followed by Olgiata (KY) in fourth.
Smart Choice completed the 1 ¼ miles in 2:00.69 in a 15-horse field.
Smart Choice, won her sixth race in 13 career starts. She had finished in the money in her last six races, which included testing male competitors, most recently on April 1 in the listed 1 ¼-mile Ernesto Ayulo Pardo at Monterrico, where she finished second by 2 ¾ lengths.
Smart Choice becomes the third horse to earn a “Win and You’re In” berth this year for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, following victories by Oh Susanna (AUS) in the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa in January and by Alizee (AUS) in the Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia in April.
The Gran Premio Pamplona was the fifth of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races run in South America this year. The winners of the other four “Win and You’re In” races in South America were as follows: Sinfonia Fastastica (ARG) won the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at Palermo in Buenos Aires to earn a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1); Nuevo Maestro (CHI) secured a “Win and You’re In” tally for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) when he won the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) in Santiago, Chile; the filly La Extrana Dama (ARG) beat male rivals in the Gran Premio 25 de Mayo (G1) at San Isidro in Buenos Aires for a berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), and Quarteto de Cordas (BRZ) also won a Breeders’ Cup Turf position when he won the Grande Premio Brazil (G1) at Gavea in Rio de Janeiro.
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races (13 Grade 1 events) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.