08/22/2016 3:55PM

It's a Chile summer at Saratoga

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Emily Shields
Chilean-bred Dacita has been a star for the Chad Brown stable and was the last horse to have defeated the superstar turf miler Tepin.

Chilean-bred champion Dacita brought a decidedly international flavor to the 2015 Saratoga meet, winning the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes in her first start in the U.S., handing another well-traveled champion, Tepin, what is her most recent loss.

The ball has kept rolling, as three Chilean-breds have shown off their home country’s best by capturing stakes at the boutique Saratoga meet this summer. Dacita returned to capture the Grade 1 Diana Stakes on July 23, stablemate Guapaza won the Grade 3 Waya Stakes on Aug. 6, and Turco Bravo picked up the Birdstone Stakes on Aug. 10. Dacita’s victory in the Diana was the first victory by a Chilean-bred in a Grade 1 event at Saratoga since the hard-knocking Lido Palace captured the 2001 Whitney Handicap.

Chilean-breds are known for their stamina and for their durability through long careers. All three of the country’s standardbearers at Saratoga this summer have demonstrated these qualities, most notably Turco Bravo. The 7-year-old gelding prevailed in the 1 ¾-mile Birdstone on a sloppy, sealed track, scoring his 14th victory from 53 career starts. It was the fourth stakes win in the U.S. for Turco Bravo, who arrived in this country in 2014. He also finished second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational at 1 ½ miles in June at Belmont Park.

"He's just that kind of horse,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “This was our idea when we brought him here. These South American horses can run [long distances]. It's a blessing that I get to train him."

Dacita and Guapaza are both trained by Chad Brown. They are among the latest foreign-bred runners adding to his embarrassment of riches in the turf female division. Dacita, champion 2-year-old filly and 3-year-old filly in her native Chile, has won three graded stakes, all in New York, since coming to the U.S. The mare is a daughter of Coolmore’s late sire Scat Daddy, who was a popular Southern Hemisphere shuttle stallion and a leading sire in Chile.

Guapaza also thrives on marathon distances. Looking to shake things up for his new addition – and to get some class relief by moving her away from her stablemates after defeats against eventual Grade 1 winners Dacita and Sea Calisi -- Brown stretched out Guapaza to 1 1/2 miles to win the River Memories Stakes at Belmont Park. She then added the Grade 3 Waya, at the same distance.

“She's really settled down. She was a little high-strung when we got her,” Brown said. “She held some tough company early on when I was putting her in races with some of my other horses that are Group 1 horses. I think this filly's a Group 1 horse eventually in her own right. We thought we'd try to reinvent her a little bit to get her away from that class of horse, because she was just coming up a little short earlier in the year, so we tried farther, longer distances where she could be the boss.”

Guapaza races for the international Don Alberto operation of Carlos Heller Solari and his mother, Liliana Solari, who purchased the former Vinery farm in Kentucky in 2013. They have begun to become a force in the U.S. auction and breeding scene. Don Alberto, which also has a breeding operation in Australia, made headlines when it partnered with Gainesway late last year to repatriate 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, the grandsire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, from Japan.

In addition to Lido Palace -- who won two editions of the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park in addition to his Whitney win -- other top Chilean-breds to have raced in the U.S. in recent years include Hollywood Gold Cup winner Total Impact and Grade 1 winners India Divina and Cocoa Beach, the latter of whom was second to Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic. Total Impact was bred by Don Alberto.