Two group I fixtures from Uruguay's Maroñas National Racetrack simulcast into the United States on Thursday handled an impressive $424,054, buoyed by an enthusiastic response from players in California. The highlight of the South American program was the Gran Premio Jose Pedro Ramirez (Urg-I), a 1 ½-mile event won by Argentine-bred outsider Equipado, ridden by Gustavo Duarte. The 7-year-old Equipado paid $48.20 to win in a field of 13 older horses (following the scratch of Don Simon). One race later, favored Mistongo was a convincing winner of the Gran Premio Pedro Piñeyrua (Urg-I), the country's premier one-mile event. The 5-year-old Uraguay-bred paid $3.80 to win in a field of 13 older horses (following the scratch of John Bravo).The Ramirez handled $189,938 while the Piñeyrua accounted for $234,116 of the pool. The Maroñas stakes were offered by Pimlico Race Course, which served as the separate-pool wagering hub for all U.S. outlets.Bets on the Ramirez and Piñeyrua were handled at most major wagering locations across the United States, including those in Las Vegas, Kentucky, New York, Illinois, Texas and all parts of California. Wagering in the Golden State totaled $123,943, accounting for 29.2% of the overall U.S. handle.
"We're extremely pleased with the reception of our races in the United States," said Scott Wells, director of racing at Maroñas. "We expected that with top quality horses, top quality jockeys and perfect weather the public would respond favorably, and they did. We think our time slot and quality make us a very viable simulcast option for North America."