While Argentina finds itself in a political and economic crisis, its racing industry, which sees itself seriously affected by the general situation, awaits to close the year with a bang this next Saturday at Hipodromo San Isidro with the running of the 113th edition of the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini (Arg-I), over the turf course at the distance of 2400 meters .Two colts who have attracted the most attention--Ice Point and Second Reality--top a well-balanced field of 17 staters in South America's most prestigious race.Ice Point, a son of the North American sire Roy out of the El Gran Senor mare Ice the Champagne, comes off two impressive victories in the Gran Premio Polla de Potrillos (Arg-I) and the Gran Premio Jockey Club (Arg-I). Luis and Raul Lottero's Haras Vacacion colt, trained by Argentina's leading man Juan Carlos Maldotti, opted to skip the Gran Premio Nacional (Arg-I) in order to point for the Carlos Pellegrini, a decision that denied him the opportunity to become a new Triple Crown winner.Second Reality, by Hidden Prize, a son of Mr. Prospector, has put together four impressive victories in a row at Hipodromo La Plata, the third most important track in the country. The Pellegrini will mark the first start on the turf and outside of Hipodromo La Plata for the pupil bred in Haras Orilla del Monte.Although their possibilities are lesser than the top two, Bat Ruizero, Lac Azur and Mr. Mat hold an upset chance.Bat Ruizero jumped to fame when capturing the Clasico Polla de Potrillos (Arg-II), at La Plata, over Irimo and Second Reality, followed by a couple of placings behind Lotrenz and later Ice Point.
Meanwhile Lac Azur, a son of Central Kentucky sire Mutakddim, finished third in all three legs of the Triple Crown races, behind Ice Point and later Dr. Ciro, one of todays absentees.Mr. Mat, by New Jersey based stallion Numerous, will try to overcome his continuous health problems as he attempts his second consecutive start in the Pellegrini after finishing eleventh behind Guarachero in last year's edition. Camp Davis (Lode), Insociable (Interprete), Gold Fire (Firery Ensign) and John Dual (Johnny's Prospect) could provide a surprise result.Meanwhile, the participation of foreign horses from Brazil, Peru and Chile was called off at the last minute. Brazilians were unable to leave their country for sanitary reasons, due to a recent outbreak of influenza. Horses from Peru failed to make the trip due to the high cost of transportation and unavailability of a direct flight.Chileans horses decided to stay home and compete in the local St. Leger, the third leg of the national Triple Crown to be run the same afternoon of the Pellegrini.The Gran Premio Internacional Felix de Alzaga Unzue (Arg-I) a companion stakes reserved for sprinters to be run over the distance of 1000 meters (five-eighths of a mile) on the turf, drew a inmense field of 22 starters: Ball Sider (Top Sider), Camire Toss (Bombazo Toss), Taimazov (Southern Halo), Idenburg (Interprete), Mister Phone (Spaekerphone), Petite West (Westbridge), Tamoio (Brz, Odysseus) and Venusino (Southern Halo) appear as the top hopefuls in a wide open affair.Between the runnings of the Unzue and Pellegrini, the best milers from Argentina will do battle in the Gran Premio Internacional Joaquin S. de Anchorena (Arg-I). The filly Randy Cat (Roy), the colt Lotrenz (Lode) and the veteran Lord Card (Lord Hailey) will likely vie for favoritism in a numerous field of 17 starters.