It’s The Most Prestigious Horse Race In South America

Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini

Although horse racing enjoys immense popularity globally, Argentina is one country where the sport is often overlooked by the masses. Nonetheless, the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini has managed to garner a higher rating from Longines than many other races in the country. In 2020, the event received a rating of 115.75, firmly securing its position within the top 100 races held during that 12-month span.

The Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini is especially important in South America, and it is the most popular race for horse betting in Argentina, according to It is one of the four Crown races held in Argentina each year, which means it is important for breeding future champions in the country.

Race Information

The fourth and final leg of the Argentinean Quadruple Crown is the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini, and it takes place annually in December. Unlike the Triple Crown races staged in the United States, the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini is staged on the turf, with the field competing over a total distance of 2,400 meters. Horses that are aged three and older are able to enter, with a weight allowance assigned depending on the sex, age, and form of the runners involved. The race takes place annually at the Hipodromo de San Isidro in Buenos Aires, which is the most significant track in Argentina.

Early History 

The race is one of Argentina’s most renowned, held annually since 1887. The race was initially known as the Gran Premio International until being renamed to its current title in 1980. The location of the race has also changed over time, with the Hipodromo Nacional holding the lucrative race between 1887 and 1895 before being moved to the Hipodromo Argentino for much of the 1900s.


It has been held at the Hipodromo de San Isidro since 1979, with previous editions conducted between 1941 and 1970. Although an annual event on the calendar, it was cancelled in 1976, and the 1985 edition was also cancelled due to the equine influenza epidemic a few months later.

Just twice has the race ended in a tie, with Ocurrencia and Dijital sharing the victory in 1915 and Movedizo and Don Padilla splitting the prize money in 1923. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini was run without foreign runners and without fans in 2020.


Given the history of the race, many of the big records are highly sought after by connections. The speed record was set back in 1999, as Asidero finished the final crown race in a time of 2:21.98. Meanwhile, only nine previous winners of the race have landed multiple victories in the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini.

The most recent runner to achieve that feat was Storm Major, who claimed victories in both 2005 and 2006. However, the talented runner ended the long trend of horses not being able to win multiple editions, with the most recent successful multiple-time winner of the race coming back in 1948 as Academico regained the title that he first won in 1946.

Other famous multiple-time winners include Romantico, Old Man, and Macon. However, no horse has ever won the race on three occasions. Irineo Leguisamo is the most successful jockey in the history of the Argentinean race with ten wins, while Juan Lapistoy and Alfredo Gaitan Dassie are tied for the most wins as trainers with six victories apiece.

Most Recent Edition

The race has added prestige in recent years because it is one of the first races on the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, which means that the winner receives automatic participation in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. This year’s race was won by the incredibly exciting The Punisher, as the three-year-old finished almost a length clear of El Musical. The success was a second straight win in the race for jockey Martin Valle, while it was also a third win for trainer Carlos D. Etchechoury, who previously landed victories in the Grade 1 with Expressive Halo in 2011 and Life of Victory in 2008. 

Will We See The Winner At The Breeders’ Cup?

The win not only produced a big purse in Argentina, but it has landed connections a place in the lucrative Breeders’ Cup Turf later in the year. This year’s race will be staged at Santa Anita, with a purse of $4 million available. However, it has been an extended period since an Argentinean runner lined up in the race, with each of the last three winners coming from Europe.

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