Lightly-raced Stud Marmaon’s 3-year-old filly Gracia Divina (PER) passed front-running Tesonera (ARG) in the final furlong to win Sunday’s 1 ¼-mile Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) at Hipodromo Monterrico in Peru by 2 1/4 lengths over La Onda (PER), and earned an automatic berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 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 Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, Nov. 1-2.
Gracia Divina, trained by Augustin Vasquez and ridden by Jose Reyes, becomes the second horse to gain a free berth into the Filly & Mare Turf this year, joining Oh Susanna (AUS), who won the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa in January.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Gracia Divina to start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which this year will be run at 1 1/4 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.
Breaking from post 7 in the 16-horse field of fillies and mares, Gracia Divina, a bay daughter of Street Hero out of La Hoja Seco (CHI) by Riyadian (GB), broke well and was moved toward the rail by Reyes in the early going, saving ground in 10th place up the backstretch. Dona Licha’s 3-year-old Tesonera (ARG) grabbed the lead early from post 1 and held it all the way through the upper stretch. On the turn for home, Reyes swung Gracia Divina off the rail to the center of the course. Now full of run, Gracia Divina passed tired horses, collared Tesonera with a furlong remaining, and sped to victory. The 3-year-old La Onda, second choice in the wagering, finished a half-length ahead of Tesonera, who gallantly held on for third.
Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) Replay
Gracia Divina covered the 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.10 over firm course.
Unraced last year, Gracia Divina won her third race in just five starts. She came into Sunday’s race off a third-place finish in the 1 ¼-mile Clasico Republica Argentina (G2) at Monterrico on June 21. Making her first two appearances on dirt, she broke her maiden in January and won an allowance race one month later. Gracia Divina tried the turf at Monterrico for the first time in a one-mile allowance race on May 19, and finished second,1 ¼ lengths behind the winner.
The Gran Premio Pamplona was the fifth of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races run in South America in this year’s series. In addition to Gracia Divina the four other South American winners are: Il Mercato (ARG), who won last December’s Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) to gain a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf; Entropia (ARG), who captured the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at Palermo in Buenos Aires to earn a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1); Tamburo Di Oro (CHI), who 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 and George Washington (BRZ), who also won a Breeders’ Cup Turf position when he was victorious in the Grande Premio Brazil at Gavea in Rio de Janeiro.