Reina de Mollendo (ARG)
Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf Division
Jockey (from last start)
DamRoyal Top (ARG)
Reina de Mollendo (ARG) didn’t let a little thing like longshot odds stop her when she left the gate in the Clasico Pamplona (G1) at Hipodromo Monterrico in Peru. The daughter of Mastercraftsman (IRE) took the lead early and managed to hold sway over the rest of the challengers to score a half-length victory.
In doing so, the 4-year-old stamped her ticket to the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Del Mar through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. The trip to North America is the first for the gray or roan filly, who has raced exclusively in Peru through six career starts—four of which she has won. She has been based at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, since August.
Owned by Arreba Arequipa and now trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Reina de Mollendo was bred in Argentina by Firmamento. Her name translates to “Queen of Mollendo,” Mollendo being a small town on the Pacific Coast of Peru and a central city in the region of Arequipa.
Reina de Mollendo made her first start in 2020 at age 3, breaking her maiden on debut before stepping up in a big way next out to contest the Group 1 Clasico Enrique Ayulo Pardo. That challenge proved to be a bit too substantial for the lightly raced filly at the time and she finished ninth.
Bumped back down in class following the loss, the filly won back-to-back allowance races and earned a second and a third in just over two months to start her 2021 campaign. That consistency inspired enough confidence in her connections to send her out in the 1 1/4-mile Clasico Pamplona in June. Among her biggest challengers in the field of 13 were favored Kentucky-bred Sissy Chanel, who was name Peru's champion turf mare of 2020, and Stud El Herraje's 3-year-old turf filly champion Salmation.
While the filly had a wide start from post 10, she went easily to the lead on the first turn and held. Her last real challenge came at the end from Stud Augusta's 3-year-old Quinta Nota —another Kentucky-bred from the farm of Charles Fipke — who passed six runners in the final 100 yards. Despite the late push, Reina de Mollendo managed to soldier on and score by a half-length to take the win.
Reina de Mollendo’s boasts Breeders’ Cup credentials on both sides of her pedigree. The filly’s father, Mastercraftsman, placed fourth in the 2009 renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and her maternal grandfather, Giant’s Causeway — the “Iron Horse” — ran second in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).