Spain Burg Looking for Euro Rebound in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
By Sigi Mendoza
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GIT) is a one-mile turf stakes for 2-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. The race was run for the first time in 2008 on the first day of two-day Breeders’ Cup event and has held a largely American-based dominance until now. However, at Santa Anita Park the European-based fillies have been able to turn the tables, since Flotilla (FR) became the first to win the race in the 2012 edition. A year later, Chriselliam (IRE) won it in a remarkable performance.
After two consecutive years of unsuccessful attempts to get a victory, the European-based fillies will try to regain their winning ways and this time they will be represented by an interesting group. One of them—Spain Burg—has a nice record of four wins out of five career races, including a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race.
French-bred Spain Burg, a daughter of Seaburg and the Anabaa Blue mare Spain Blues, earned a spot in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf after a convincing victory on September 23 in the Rockfel Stakes (GIIT) over seven furlongs at Newmarket.
Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, best known as the owners of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Mucho Macho Man, explained his decision to acquire the promising Spain Burg for $1,686,000 from the Arqana Chantilly Arc de Triomphe Sale earlier this month.
“I had been thinking for quite sometime that I would like to expand into the European market and also try and find a nice filly that would make a good broodmare for me down the road,” Reeves said. “Turns out when I got word this filly would be in the auction it seemed as though she fit everything I was looking for. This was my first purchase in Europe and it was an added bonus that she had won a ‘Win and You’re In’ spot in the Breeders Cup.”
Spain Burg made her debut in a five-furlong race at Bordeaux Le Bouscat and since then, she has been gradually stretching out until her latest seven-furlong win at Newmarket.
Spain Burg is stretching out to a one-mile distance for the first time in addition to making her first start in America, though she has raced over different courses inEurope and the filly looked comfortable in her first workout at Keeneland a few days ago.
“The Breeders Cup race being a mile should really be perfect for her,” Reeves said. “We believe distance will not be a problem and that going further next year may suit her better. Spain Burg has already run two races with turns so that should not be an issue. The firmer surface at Santa Anita should also help her. She worked on Friday at Keeneland on the grass and handled the turn and surface very nicely.”
Spain Burg’s connections already have a long-term plan for her, regardless of the outcome of the race.
“Win or lose she will be given some time off and then we will look at potentially running her back in Europe in the spring and early summer,” Reeves explained.
Spain Burg is trained by Kathy Ritvo and will be ridden by champion European jockey Frankie Dettori in the Breeders’ Cup.