Edited Press Release — Haras Do Morro’s 3-year-old homebred Raptor’s (BRZ) split horses at the top of the stretch and surged to the front in the final quarter-mile to win Sunday’s 91st Grande Premio Brasil (G1) at Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio de Janeiro by a length. With this victory, Raptor’s earned an automatic starting position into the US $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
Now in its 16th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 80 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Raptor’s, a son of Hat Trick (JPN) out of the Wild Event mare Eurotrip (BRZ), is trained by Luis Esteves and was ridden by Joao Moreira. Raptor’s joins The Punisher (ARG), winner of the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini (G1), as the first horses this year to earn free starting positions into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Raptor’s, the 5-1 favorite, finished in front of stablemate Online (BRZ),who was disqualified for interference entering the stretch and was placed 16th following a stewards’ inquiry. Escher (BRZ), who crossed the line in third was moved up to second place, followed by Olympic Kremlin (BRZ) in third.
Raptor’s, who won the Cruzeiro do Sul (Brazilian Derby G1) in his previous start at Gavea, completed the 1 ½ miles in 2:24.91 over a course listed as soft. He improved his record to four wins in seven starts. It was also the sixth time that Esteves has saddled the winner of the Grande Premio Brasil.
Breaking from post 8 in a 16-horse field, Raptor’s settled around 10th place during the first 7 furlongs, while longshot Lionel the Best (BRZ) set the pace followed by Limeira (BRZ) and Jorel (BRZ). Approaching the far turn, Moreira found room along the rail and forged Raptor’s through a gap between Limeira and Jorel and into the lead. Online, the 6-1 second choice, forced horses wide at the top of the stretch and chased Raptor’s to the wire in second. Escher closed ground in deep stretch to finish third and was moved up to second following the disqualification of Online.