Reversing her runner-up finish in last year’s race, Stud Santa Ines’s 4-year-old filly Kiriaki (ARG) prevailed by a head over Hispanidad (ARG) in a furious stretch drive to win Monday’s 1 ¼ mile Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at Palermo, and gained the first automatic starting position into this year’s $ 2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) this year 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 connections of Kiriaki to start in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which will be run at 1 1/8 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. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.
Trained by Juan Udaondo and ridden by Gustavo Calvente, Kiriaki, the 5-2 favorite in an eight horse field of fillies and mares, wore down the 3-year-old Hispanidad (part of 4.7-1 entry with Kononkop) in the final yards to prevail. Kiriaki, a bay daughter of Catcher in the Rye (IRE) out of Kiria (ARG) by Interplate (ARG), completed the 1 ¼ miles over a fast track in 2:00.46. Magica Stripes (ARG) finished third, and was followed in order by Kononkop (ARG), Silver Look (ARG), Mantera Rye (ARG), Adora Nistel (ARG) and Sing in Holiday (ARG).
Kiriaki was bred by Stud Clausan, the same farm which bred Invasor (ARG), the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and North American Horse of the Year.
One year ago, Kiarki was defeated in the last stride by Corona Del Inca (ARG) in 2016 Gran Premio Criadores as the 3-4 favorite.
She came back strongly seven weeks later to capture her first Group 1, taking the 1 ¼ mile Gran Premio Estrellas on dirt at Palermo by four lengths. Kiriaki closed out 2016 finishing second by 1 ½ lengths to Dona Bruja (ARG) in the Premio Copa de Plata (G1) on turf at San Isidro.
This year, Kiriaki delivered two solid performances before the Gran Premio Criadores. She finished second to Furia Azteca (ARG) in the 1 ¼ mile Arturo R. y Arturo Bullrich (G2) on March 12 at Palermo, and then scored a 1½- length victory in the Gran Premio Gilberto Lerna (G1) at 1 3/8 miles on turf on April 1 at Palermo.
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