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South American-Breds Out in Force for Breeders’ Cup


Quarteto de Cordas (near) breezing earlier this week | Coady

By Alan Carasso

A total of 43 horses bred in South American have tried their luck in the previous 34 renewals of the Breeders’ Cup and they have certainly not gone unnoticed.

Ron McAnally trained Frank and Janis Whitham’s Bayakoa (Arg) (Consultant’s Bid) to victories in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 1989 at Gulfstream Park and again in 1990 at Belmont, while the McAnally-conditioned Paseana (Arg) (Ahmad {Arg}) annexed the 1992 Distaff at Gulfsteam. Both Bayakoa–whose daughter Arlucea (Broad Brush) became the dam of 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Fort Larned (E Dubai)–and Paseana were two-time Eclipse Award winners. The Uruguay-sourced Invasor (Arg) (Candy Stripes) capped his Horse of the Year campaign in 2006 with a defeat of favored Bernardini (A.P. Indy) in the GI Classic at Churchill, while Calidoscopio (Arg) (Luhuk) gained an American cult following with a last-to-first romp in the GII Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita back in 2012.

Seven South American-bred gallopers were entered for this year’s championships–Blue Prize (Arg) (Pure Prize), Vale Dori (Arg) (Asiatic Boy {Arg}) and Wow Cat (Chi) (Lookin at Lucky) in the GI Longines Distaff; Hi Happy (Arg) (Pure Prize), Quarteto de Cordas (Brz) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}) and Robert Bruce (Chi) (Fast Company (Ire) in the GI Longines Turf; and Smart Choice (Arg) (Grand Reward) in the GI Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf. Quarteto de Cordas and Smart Choice earned expenses-paid berths into their races with victories in Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races in Argentina. Robert Bruce, who was recently supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup, Vale Dori and Blue Prize landed ‘Win and You’re In’ races in this country, annexing the GI Arlington Million, the GI Zenyatta S. and GI Juddmonte Spinster S., respectively. Six of the seven South American-bred runners are entirely or part-owned by their original owners. Peter Brant co-owns GI Beldame S. winner Wow Cat, while Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum acquired Vale Dori prior to campaigning her in Dubai in 2016.


WATCH: Quarteto de Cordas winning the GP Brasil at Gavea in June


For many years, the well-respected horseman John Fulton has served Breeders’ Cup Limited as its South American liaison/representative. He explains that a decision by the Breeders’ Cup in 2011 to open the program up to Southern Hemisphere stallions and, by extension, their progeny, has increased interest and encouraged a greater level of participation.

“It plays a big role in this, in the sense that we now have horses that are nominated,” Fulton said by phone from rainy Louisville. “It was always very costly to nominate, but the program that is offered by the Breeders’ Cup in the Southern Hemisphere is a very generous one. It gives the breeders an opportunity to get involved inexpensively and adds value to their foals for themselves or for purchases at auction.”

There is a learning curve, Fulton says, in understanding the program, but that is beginning to bear fruit, as evidenced by the number of South American-breds in the entries at Churchill this weekend.

“It’s been my job to try to explain it to the people and convince them to nominate,” he said. “Each year it’s grown and despite the fact that the industry has contracted in Argentina and Brazil and that the economies in those countries have been in rough shape and purses are not much, we are still maintaining a pretty good level of nominations so we have a larger percentage of the horses that could possibly come up and run [in the Breeders’ Cup]. It’s been quite a task, but it’s starting to pay dividends.

“People are looking for the chance to run for more money and for the glory, obviously,” he concluded.


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