There are few more illustrious races staged in South America annually than the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini. This Grade 1 has been staged since 1887, and it has often thrown up some of the most talented runners that we have seen across South America. The race also holds extra incentive in the modern era, as the winner qualifies automatically for the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Turf, which is staged at the end of the flat season in the United States.
According to Longines rankings, the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini is the 93rd most prestigious Grade 1 in the world for horses aged three and older, and it is staged annually at Hipodromo de San Isidro in Buenos Aires. But, who are the most talented winners of the race that horses in the drjuego.com betting this year will be looking to emulate? In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most exceptional runners to have triumphed in the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini over the years.
One of the most dominant winners of the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini remains Asidero. The runner smashed the speed record for the famous Argentinian race in 1999 when claiming success, as he finished in a time of 2:21.98. After dominating the Argentinean field, he traveled to the United States, becoming one of the few runners that have opted to take up the involvement in the Breeders’ Cup.
His first engagement in the United States came at Arlington Park in August 2000, but he could only finish fifth in the G1 Arlington Million. His success in North America also didn’t materialize on his following start, as he could only finish third in the G1 Clement Hirsch Championship, despite being sent off as favourite.
A number of horses have claimed back-to-back victories in the race, including Romantico, who won the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini in both 1938 and 1939. Only five further champions have returned to successfully defend their crown, with a number of other multiple-time winners losing on their return run before winning in the following edition.
Romantico remains one of the most popular winners of the race, as he also achieved success in the prestigious Gran Premio Jose Pedro Ramirez in Uruguay. The runner is widely believed to be the best Uruguayan racehorse in history, and he landed the Triple Crown in his homeland among other races. Over his career, he landed 14 victories from 23 starts and finished outside the top three on just two occasions. Romantico went for history on his final career start, but he could only finish sixth in the 1940 edition of the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini.
One of the most famous recent winners of the race came in 2018, as Il Mercato landed a historic win in the race. The success later saw him awarded the Argentinean Horse of the Year award. He was incredibly consistent throughout his career, as he never finished outside the top three in seven career starts. That saw him pick up prize money of over ARS$6.4 million throughout his career for trainer Juan Sebastian Maldotti.
However, injury curtailed his plans of a run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. After winning the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini, he was shipped to the Chad Brown yard, and an entry was made for a first run in the United States on Belmont Stakes day. However, a tendon injury was reported, and he retired from racing. Regardless, his performances on track saw him pick up a number of prestigious honours, including being named the Champion Three-Year-Old and the Champion Stayer in Argentina.
The race isn’t all about the stars of the equine world, as some of the world’s best jockeys have also shown their quality in the Grade 1. One of the standout jockeys in the history of the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini is Irineo Leguisamo. The Uruguayan won the historic race a remarkable ten times throughout his career, with all victories coming between 1924 and 1962. His reputation remains intact as one of the greatest jockeys ever seen in South America, as he competed for over 57 years at racecourses in Argentina and Uruguay.
The 2022 edition of the race was staged in December, with The Punisher coming out on top for trainer Carlos D. Etchechoury. The success gave Martin Valle a second straight win in the race and also saw the runner become the first horse to book their spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. However, it remains to be seen whether the Argentinean-trained horse will make the trip to Santa Anita later in 2023.