Breaking from the outside as the second betting choice, Uruguayan-bred 4-year-old Fletcher pulled away from the field in the final quarter mile to capture the 120th renewal of the prestigious Clasico Gran Premio Jose Ramirez (Uru-I) Jan. 6 at Hipódromo Nacional de Maroñas in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Fletcher is owned by Stud 3 Enero, who won the Uruguayan Triple Crown in 2005 with Argentina-bred Invasor, who was purchased by Shadwell and went on to win the Breeders Cup Classic (gr. I) and Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) en route to Eclipse Award honors for Horse of the Year in 2006.
"This one means much more," said Pablo Hernandez, one of the owners of Stud 3 Enero, following the race, "because he was bred in Uruguay and all of his connections are Uruguayan. This is about family and we can all celebrate together."
Oggigiorno finished about four lengths back in second in the Ramirez and Princier was third. Time for the 2,400 meters (about 1.491 miles) was 2:29.44.
Fletcher was ridden by Luis Caceres and trained by Sandro Sanchez. After the race, a jubilant Caceres said he was confident throughout.
"I could tell by the fast early pace that I still had a lot of horse as we entered the stretch," the jockey said. "At that point I felt we had it won."
Hernandez had a different view.
"When we were so far back at the halfway point, I just didn't think we could make it, but Caceres gave him a great ride," the owner said.
Hernandez said he has no immediate plans for the horse, but his victory in the Ramirez gives him an automatic invitation to the Gran Premio Latinoamericano (Brz-I), which will be contested in March at Hipódromo da Gávea in Brazil.