By Gustavo Gonzalez
Think about the winners of two legs of the last Triple Crown and a winner of the biggest handicap, in the same race. This occurred June 27 at San Isidro, Argentina, a racecourse with a European style during the country’s championship day, the Carreras de las Estrellas, which is patterned after the Breeders’ Cup.
Sixth in the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (Arg-I), four lengths behind his stablemate Life of Victory, City Banker earned 600,000 pesos ($158,000) and gave trainer Carlos Daniel Etchechoury his third victory on the day. Earlier, Etchechoury visited the winners’ circle with True Passion in the Juvenile Fillies (Arg-I) and San Livinus in the Juvenile (Arg-I).
True Passion (Orpen-Tolerada, by Fitzcarraldo) rallied from third in the stretch and left her stablemate, Leading the Way, in second by 2 ½ lengths in 1:33.98. It was her third victory in five performances. The two fillies are hombreds for Orilla del Monte. San Livinus came from the outside to win by two lengths over Bombón Suizo. Second in the Gran Premio Raul Chevalier and third in the Gran Criterium (both group I), San Livinus (Mutakddim-Capalize, by Equalize) stopped the clock at 1:33.10. He was bred by La Quebrada and is owned by Tres Jotas Stable. The filly and the colt were both guided by leading jockey Pablo Falero and earned 350,000 pesos ($92,000).
Giannetti and Falero struggled in the Sprint (Arg-I). El Noi (Anjiz-Mersa, by Bid Us), ridden by Giannetti, defeated favorite Qué Vida Buena in :53.98, after a tough fight in the race run down a straight. Falero was aboard of the son of Bernstein. The purse for the winner was 150,000 pesos ($40,000). La Oriana Stable is the owner of El Noi.
Ollagua had won six of nine before going to the starting gate of the Distaff (Arg-I), and came back with her seventh triumph, the third group I. A daughter of Pure Prize and Open Secrets (West by West), Ollagua took the lead from the start and came for home in 1:58.09, almost one second faster than City Banker in the Classic. Francisco Corrales was aboard the 3-year-old homebred of La Providencia. Ollagua collected 200,000 pesos ($52,600).
The Carrera de las Estrellas Mile (Arg-I) was the last race of the meeting. Snapy Halo (Southern Halo-Esnaola, by Ringaro) achieved his best triumph after defeating New Killer by three lengths in 1:32.49. Brazilian Jorge Ricardo, who struggles side by side with Russell Baze for the first place in the world statistics of wins, guided the 4-year-old bay of Rubio B Stable
The highlight was the 10-furlong Classic-Copa Hernán Ceriani Cernadas (Arg-I), in which City Banker defeated Mestre by two lengths in 1:57.92 and returned to success almost nine months after having won the Jockey Club (Arg-I), the second leg of the Triple Crown. The 3-year-old son of Lode, bred by Santa María de Araras, was near the pace until the stretch under jockey Adrián Giannetti, and then galloped to the wire.
Favored by the slots’ profits, racing in Argentina is able to maintain its best horses to compete for good purses for longer. Nowadays, Palermo Racetrack has its own VLTs and Buenos Aires province racetrack San Isidro y La Plata obtain revenues from the taxes to the slot machines of the district.
The Carreras de las Estrellas was born in 1991, taking the Breeders’ Cup as its model.
"The owners are the engine of the industry. Without their passion, will, and enthusiasm it wouldn’t be possible to carry on with the Carreras de las Estrellas," said Juan Carlos Bagó, president of Fundación Equina Argentina.