Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Heads To Germany's Baden-Baden This Weekend - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Heads To Germany’s Baden-Baden This Weekend

The international Breeders' Cup Challenge series moves to Baden-Baden this weekend with Saturday's T. von Zastrow Stutenpreis (G2) , with an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and Sunday's Grosser Preis von Baden for a free berth into the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.

The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of 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 for the first time at the Del Mar racetrack near San Diego, California, on November 3-4.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders' Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for the T. von Zastrow winner to start in the Filly & Mare Turf and for the winner of the Grosser Preis von Baden to start in the Longines 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. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the Championships' pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.

A field of 11 is set for the $73,640 T. Von Zastrow Stutenpreis (GII), at about 1 ½ miles, for fillies and mares, led by Rashit Shaykhutdinov's 3-year-old filly Megera (FR) and Stall Ullmann's 3-year-old filly Tusked Wings (IRE).  Megera, trained by Andreas Wohlers, made a big effort in finishing second in the 1 3/8-mile Henkel-Preis der Diana (G1) (German Oaks) on August 6 at Dusseldorf, the third start of the year for the bay daughter of Motivator (GB). Tusked Wings, a chestnut daughter of Acatenagno (GER), finished fourth in the German Oaks. Prior to that, she won the Soldier-Hollow Diana Trial (G2) at Hoppegaren for trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho. The Peter Schiergen-trained Ashiana, fifth in the German Oaks, has two listed wins in four career starts for owner Eckhard Sauren.

The T. von Zastrow is the sixth Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf qualifier thus far in 2017. Bela-Bela (SAF) was the first to qualify, winning the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1) at Kenilworth in South Africa in January. Foxplay (AUS) captured the Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia in April, followed by Birdie Gold, who won the Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) at Moneterrico in Peru in June.  Dacita (CHI) was the most recent qualifier in this division, winning the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Arlington on August 12. Enable was a dominant winner last month of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) at York.

Seven runners have been entered for Sunday's $163,000 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden. Run at about 1 ½ miles, the von Baden is led by Stall Ullmann's defending champion Iquitos (GER) and Godolphin's Best Solution (IRE), the 1-2 finishers of the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (GI) at Munich on July 30. Iquitos, a 5-year-old son of Adlerflug (GER), is 3-for-12 lifetime for trainer H-J Groschel. Iquitos won last year's Grosser Preis von Baden by 2 ¾ lengths, and closed out the year with a seventh-place finish in the Japan Cup (G1). He began 2017 with runner-up finishes in the Grosser Preis der Badichen (G2) at Baden-Baden and in the Grosser Preis Wirtschaft (G2) at Hamburg on July 1. Best Solution, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, has one win in six starts this year. He captured the Betfred Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield in May, prior to an eighth place finish in the Investec Derby (G1) at Epsom and a 10th place finish in the King Edward VI at Royal Ascot. Suroor has also entered the 4-year-old Prize Money (GB), who won the Dubai City of Gold Stakes (G2) at Meydan in March, and was recently sixth in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen. Stall Ullmann's Guignol (GER), a 5-year-old son of Cape Cross, defeated Iquitos by a neck in the Groser Preis der Badichen.

The Grosser Preis von Baden is the eighth Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifier for the 1½-mile, $4 million Longines Turf (G1) this year. The first seven to qualify are the 4-year-old Ulysses (IRE), who won last week's Juddmonte International at York; the 5-year-old Hunt (IRE), who won the Del Mar Handicap (G1) on August 19; the 4-year-old Beach Patrol, winner of the Arlington Million (G1) on August 12; the 3-year-old filly Enable (GB), winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at Ascot on July 29; Satono Crown (JPN), who captured the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin Racecourse in Japan on June 25; the 8-year-old Ordak Dan (ARG), who won the Gran Premio 25 de Mayo (G1) at San Isidro in Buenos Aires on May 25and 3-year-old Voador Magee (BRZ), who earned a Turf bid by capturing the Grande Premio Brasil (G1) at Hipodromo Gavea in Rio de Janeiro on June 11.

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