Two group 1 fixtures from Uruguay's Maroñas National Racetrack will be simulcast into North America Jan. 6 with Pimlico Race Course serving as the North American wagering hub for the stakes. The highlight of the South American stakes is the group 1 Gran Premio Jose Pedro Ramirez, a 1 1/2-mile race that traditionally attracts some of the best horses from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.
Simply known as "The Ramirez," the weight-for-age $100,000 race has been one of South America's most important classics since its inaugural running in 1889. Past Ramirez winners include some of the continent's greatest champions: Romantico, Arturo A. and Sestao.
Also on the program is Uruguay's most important race for milers, the group 1 Gran Premio Pedro Piñeyrua. The races are being run Jan. 6 because it is a national holiday in Uruguay.
The rare opportunity to simulcast South American racing into the U.S. was made possible by a working relationship between the Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) and Maroñas National Racetrack.
Located in Uruguay's coastal capital city Montevideo, Maroñas had been one of South America's premier racing centers for more than 100 years, but fell into decline in the 1980s and closed in 1997. After a 5 1/2-year hiatus, the historic racetrack reopened in 2003 as South America's first "racino" and has rapidly resumed its place among the region's most important racing venues.
Lone Star Park, Pimlico and Laurel Park's sister track, was hired to assist in the reopening and oversee Maroñas' racing operations.
There will be separate North American wagering pools, featuring win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering. The takeout rate for win, place and show bets is 18%; the rate for exactas is 21%; and the rate for trifectas and superfectas is 25.75%.
The imported races will follow Pimlico's final live race and will be carded as Races 10 and 11. Post time for The Ramirez is 4:20 p.m. The Piñeyrua will be run at 5:10 p.m.