12/12/2011 12:23PM

Perfect Shirl headed to Argentina for Gran Premio Internacional Pellegrini

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Barbara D. Livingston
Perfect Shirl, with John Velazquez up, wins the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl is heading to South America to complete her 2011 campaign Saturday in the Group 1 Gran Premio Internacional Pellegrini at San Isidro Race Course in Buenos Aires.

Perfect Shirl, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Perfect Soul, is trained by Roger Attfield for owner-breeder Charles Fipke. She has not started since registering her only victory of the year, a shocking three-quarter-length triumph at odds of 27-1 in the Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4.

Perfect Shirl had originally been scheduled to compete last Saturday in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, but her itinerary changed suddenly last week.

“We weren’t able to get all the blood work and some other necessary paperwork done in time to make the trip to Hong Kong,” Attfield said by phone from his winter base at Payson Park on Monday morning. “So we decided to go to Argentina instead.”

Attfield said one key reason that went into his decision to make the trip was the fact he was able to secure the services of jockey John Velazquez to ride Perfect Shirl in the about 1 1/2-mile Pelligrini. Velazquez guided Perfect Shirl to victory in the Breeders’ Cup.

“I was concerned about the jockey situation, since I’m not familiar with the riders down there, so, for me, having Johnny go is a big plus,” Attfield said.

Travelling to South America will be a new experience, not only for Perfect Shirl but Attfield as well.

“I’ve never been to Argentina, so I’m looking forward to it as another adventure,” Attfield said.

Perfect Shirl has worked twice since the Breeders’ Cup, both times at Payson Park, including an easy five furlongs over the turf in 1:00 last Tuesday.

“She’s very fit,” Attfield said. “She’s also a very slight filly, so there is no need to do too much with her. She’ll leave Wednesday morning, and I’ll leave later that day. I have seen video of some of the horses we’ll be racing against, but I really have no idea what we’re up against. I think a good showing would enhance her chances at winning an Eclipse Award, but naturally we’ve got to go down there and do it first.”