LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 9, 2015) – The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Challenge series gets underway Saturday with automatics berths in two of South Africa’s most prestigious races in the $1 million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf, for an automatic starting position in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and the $1 million Main Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (G1), for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, for an automatic bid into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic berths, and fees paid, into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held for the first time at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington on October 30-31.
Legislate (SAF), South Africa’s Horse of the Year, leads the nine horse field for the Queen’s Plate. Trained by Justin Snaith, the 5-year-old son of Dynasty (SAF) won last year’s Investec Cape Derby (G1) at Kenilworth, the Daily News 2000 (G1) and the Vodacom Durban July (G1). In the Durban July, he was moved from second to first based on interference with Wylie Hall (AUS). Away after a five-month layoff and some nagging injuries, Legislate returned to the races on December 18 with a powerful stretch drive under jockey Richard Fourie to win Lanzerac Green Point Stakes (G2) at Kenilworth.
The 5-year-old Louis the King (SAF), winner of last year’s South African Derby (SAF), comes into the Queen’s Plate on a winning note, taking the 1 ¼ mile Gauteng Sansui Summer Stakes (G1) at Turffontein on November 29 for trainer Geoff Woodruff. Ridden by Piere Strydom, Louis the King, a bay son of Black Minnaloushe, also won the group one S A Classic (G1) last March.
The Brett Crawford- trained Futura, another son of Dynasty, was third in the Green Point Stakes following a layoff. He won the Champions Cup (G1) at Greyville last July.
Jet Aglow (SAF) leads the 13 horse field for the $1 million Main Chance Farms Paddock Stakes, which follows the Queen’s Plate on Saturday’s card. Trained by Dennis Drier, the 6-year-old mare was a close third to Beach Beauty (SAF) in last year’s Paddock Stakes. She enters this year’s event having defeated male rivals in the Jet Master Stakes at Kenilworth in her most recent start.
Mike De Kock sends out Pine Princess (SAF), who was third in last year’s Zulu Kingdom Golden Slipper (G1). Acrostar (AUS), a chestnut daughter of Danehill Dancer (IRE), won the Victress Stakes (G3) in her last start at Kenilworth for trainer Justin Snaith.