12/15/2011 12:00PM

Perfect Shirl's Argentina trip called off

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Tom Keyser
Perfect Shirl, with John Velazquez riding, wins the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

A series of canceled flights earlier this week kept Perfect Shirl from traveling to Argentina for Saturday's Group 1 Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini.

Trainer Roger Attfield said on Thursday that he was unable to secure transport for Perfect Shirl, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, and that she will remain in North America and be prepared for a 2012 campaign as a 5-year-old.

"It was a shipping issue that got totally silly," he said. "It was cancellations and delays.  It was getting a little too close anyway. It just got bizarre and it was too close."

Attfield said that one flight was arranged for Wednesday, but that his traveling assistant would not have been able to accompany the filly on that plane, a situation the trainer said was not acceptable.

Perfect Shirl is based at Payson Park in Florida with Attfield's stable.

"The filly is fine," Attfield said. "She was going to get a little break anyway. She'll have a little break here at Payson Park and we'll get her ready for the New Year. She's in great shape. It was frustrating to have it go wrong like that."

Owned by Charles Fipke, Perfect Shirl has won four of 15 starts and $1,390,729. She has won two stakes, including the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga in 2010.

The Carlos Pellegrini, held at Hipodromo San Ysidro, is run over about 1 1/2 miles on turf and is South America's most prestigious race.

The race is expected to have a field of 23 with the absence of Perfect Shirl, including runners from Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.

There is still one female in the field, Jumbalaya, a 4-year-old Argentine-bred filly who has won two Group 1 races in 2011. From Brazil, Veraneio, a colt by Signal Tap, seeks his third Group 1 win of the year. He won the Grande Premio Derby Paulista in Brazil on Nov 5.