TOO SOON???? Courtesy of Thoroughbred Racing Commentary The international challenge for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup moves up a gear next week with four ‘Win and You’re In’ races being run at Royal Ascot. The G1 Queen Anne Stakes on June 19 (a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Mile), the G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (June 20, Longines Turf), the G2 Norfolk Stakes (June 21, Juvenile Turf Sprint) and the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (June 23, Turf Sprint) mean some prized free berths are up for grabs in the World Championships on November 2-3 at Churchill Downs. Here we look at what has been happening around the world in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series so far. LONGINES BREEDERS' CUP TURF Two qualifying races run have been so far, both in South America: Haras de Moro’s 3-year-old Quarteto De Cordas, a son of Rock Of Gibraltar, who won the Gran Premio Brasil at Gavea yesterday. He wore down the front-running Arrocha in the final yards of the mile-and-a-half contest. Haras de la Pomme’s 4-year-old filly La Extrana Dama (a daughter of Catcher In The Rye), easy winner of the G1 Gran Premio 25 de Mayo, also over a mile and a half, at San Isidro, Argentina, last month. BREEDERS’ CUP MILE Four international qualifiers so far in 2018: Two-time South African Horse of the Year Legal Eagle (by Greys Inn), winner (for the third time) of the G1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth in January. Happy Clapper (by Teofilo), who took the G1 Star Doncaster Mile at Randwick in April. Stud Don Alberto’s 4-year-old homebred Nuevo Maestro, who won his ninth straight victory when taking the 1¼-mile G1 Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella at Club Hipico in Chile last month (he past the post second but was upgraded on the disqualification of stablemate Penn Rose for interference). Connections have indicated that Nuevo Maestro, a son of Ivan Denisovich, is a likely runner at Churchill Downs. Mozu Ascot, a son of Frankel, who won the G1 Yasuda Kinen over a mile at Tokyo on June 3. BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF Two qualifiers: Drakenstein Stud’s Australian-bred 3-year-old filly Oh Susanna, a daughter of Street Cry, who took the nine-furlong G1 Carter Paddock Stakes at Kenilworth in January. The Godolphin 3-year-old filly Alizee, a daughter of Sepoy, who won the G1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes over a mile at Randwick in April. BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC Just the one qualifier as yet: Nonkono Yume, winner of the one-mile G1 February Stakes on the dirt at Tokyo in, yes you guessed it, February. The 6-year-old gelding is a son of Twining. LONGINES BREEDERS' CUP DISTAFF The only qualifier so far: Sinfonia Fantastica, a 4-year-old daughter of Cima De Triomphe, who won the G1 Gran Premio Criadores at Palermo in Argentina in May. As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for all winners of a ‘Win and You’re In’ race should their connections elect to run. The Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside North America to compete in the World Championships. If not Breeders’ Cup eligible, the Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of October 22 to receive the rewards. Nineteen international qualifiers will be run after Royal Ascot - one in South America, two in Japan and 16 in Europe. RIO DE JANEIRO (June 10, 2018) – Haras de Moro’s 3-year-old Quarteto De Cordas (BRZ) wore down Arrocha (BRZ) in the final yards to win Sunday’s 1 ½-mile Grande Premio Brasil (G1) at Hipodromo Gavea by a neck and gained an 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 82 stakes races whose winners receive free berths and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 2-3. As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Quarteto de Cordas to start in the 1 ½-mile 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. If not Breeders’ Cup eligible, the Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of October 22 to receive the rewards. Trained by Luiz Esteves and ridden to victory by Luan Machado, Quarteto De Cordas (17.6-1) won his second race of 2018 in five previous starts. He captured the Group 3, one-mile Grande Premio Jose Buarquede Macedo on January 14, and finished second a month later in the Grande Premio Estado do Rio De Janeiro (G1) by a half-length. He followed up that effort with two seventh-place finishes in Group 1 races, and a most recent fifth-place place finish in 1 ½ mile Grande Premio Doutor Frontin (G2) on May 12. Today’s win was his second career Group 1, having taken the Prova Especial Roi Normand on July 2 last year at Gavea. Or Noir (BRZ), part of the favored 4.7-1 entry with Orange Box (BRZ) (6th), closed strongly in the middle of the course to finish just three-quarters of a length back in third, followed by Olimpo (BRZ) in fourth and Easiest Way (BRZ) in fifth in a 19 horse field. Quarteto De Cordas is a bay son of Rock of Gibraltar (IRE) out of New Hampshire (BRZ) by Punk (ARG). He was bred in Brazil by Beverly Hills Stud. Esteves also trained the winner of last year’s Grande Premio Brasil with Voador Magee (BRZ). The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, now in its 12th year, is being held at many of the world’s premier racetracks in 12 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Japan, Ireland, Peru, South Africa and the United States. The Grande Premio Brasil was the fourth Breeders’ Cup Challenge race to be run in South America this year. On May 25, the filly La Extrana Dama (ARG) won the Gran Premio 25 de Mayo at San Isidro in Buenos Aires and earned an automatic berth into the Longines Turf. On May 21, the 4-year-old Nuevo Maestro (CHI) won the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) in Santiago, Chile for a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and on May 1, the 5-year-old mare Sinfonia Fantastica (ARG) won the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at Palermo and earned an automatic berth into the Longines Distaff. About Breeders’ Cup 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. BREEDING & NOMINATIONS The breeding industry is the cornerstone of the Breeders’ Cup program, the very foundation of our Championships and Challenge series. All horses have to be nominated in order to compete in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and it all begins with the stallions. North American stallions are nominated annually to the Breeders’ Cup, the nomination is for the upcoming breeding season and the fee to be eligible is equal to the stud’s advertised breeding fee. Once the stallion is nominated and begins breeding (covering mares) all of his progeny (foals) from that breeding season are then eligible to be nominated the year they are born. If a stallion is really popular and has more than 50 foals born each year, then he pays more in nomination fees. Foals born in North America only have to be nominated once to the Breeders’ Cup, by October 15 of the year they are born, their breeder pays a one-time $400 nomination fee and that foal is then is fully eligible to run in any Breeders’ Cup World Championships race for its entire racing career. For the nominator, a Breeders’ Cup nomination pays off in the sales ring with nominated foals bringing six times on average what non-nominated foals sell for and it pays off in nominator awards earned through the Challenge Series and in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Stallions that stand outside of North America can participate too, international stallions standing in the Northern Hemisphere pay 50% of their stud fee and stallions standing in the Southern Hemisphere pay 25% of their stud fee. Once an international stallion is nominated for a breeding season, all his foals that are born the following year receive free nominations to the Breeders’ Cup.