Durazzo (Courtesy of Hipódromo de San Isidro)
Winner Earns First Automatic Berth into 2023 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park in California
By Jim Gluckson
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina— Led by Group 1 winners Durazzo (ARG), Mirinaque (ARG), and El Musical (ARG), a field of 15 has been entered for Saturday’s 1 ½-mile Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional (G1) at Hipódromo de San Isidro in Buenos Aires. The Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional winner will receive an automatic starting position into the 2023 US$4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the 2023 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held on Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
The Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional, South America’s most prestigious race, is the first Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of the 2023 season.
Marias Del Sur S.A.’s 4-year-old Durazzo comes into the race having won his last six starts dating back to March, which includes three Group 1 wins. Trained by Ruben Quiroga, Durazzo captured the 1 ½-mile Gran Premio Copa De Oro – Alberto Lalor (G1) at San Isidro in his most recent start on Nov. 5, powering inside the final furlong to a 4-length victory. A son of Fortify out of the Dalhart mare Dale Lunfa (ARG), Durazzo’s Copa De Oro win came after a 3 ½-length triumph in the 1 ½-mile-Progreso (G3) at San Isidro on Sept. 25. Earlier in the year, Durazzo made back-to-back Group 1 scores when he took the Gran Premio 25 de Mayo by 5 lengths on May 25 and the 1 ¼-mile Estrellas Classic at Palermo on June 25.
Maria Christina Munoz is the owner and trainer of the 6-year-old Mirinaque, Argentina’s 2020 Horse of the Year, and the runner-up in last year’s Carlos Pellegrini. A gray son of Hurricane Cat, Mirinaque is on a four-race winning streak, which includes two Group 1 victories. On Sept. 3 at Palermo, Mirinaque won the General San Martin (G1) by a nose over Special Dubai (ARG) and then surprised the crowd at Luna Park on Nov. 9 in Buenos Aires by winning the 1 1/2-mile Dardo Rocha-Internacional (G1) by 4 lengths at 36-1. Mirinaque has won eight times in 25 starts. After beginning 2022 with off-the-board finishes in the Longines Red Sea Handicap (G3) at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia in February and in the Dubai Gold Cup (G2) at Meydan in March, Mirinaque returned home and won the 1 ½-mile Chacabuco (G2) in July and the 1 ½-mile Comparacion (G2) in August, both at Palermo.
The 3-year-old El Musical has won three of eight starts for owners BVP Sa and trainer Miguel Cafere. A son of Il Campione (CHI), El Musical’s biggest win thus far was a half-length triumph in the 1-mile Polla de Potrillos (G1) at Palermo on Sept. 3. He crossed the wire first in the 1 1/4-mile Gran Premio Jockey Club (G1) at San Isidro on Oct. 15 after leading from start to finish but was disqualified for interfering with Natan (ARG) in an all-out stretch drive and was placed second. In his most recent start, El Musical finished second, 4 lengths behind Nino Guapo (ARG) in the 1 ½-mile Nacional on Nov. 22 at Palermo.
Calomino S.A.’s Nino Guapo has won three of his last four starts. Trained by Roberto Pellegata, Nino Guapo, a son of Catcher in the Rye (IRE), was extremely impressive in his first start beyond a mile when he won the Gran Premio Eduardo Casey (G2) at Palermo by 6 lengths on Oct. 10. He followed up that triumph with his first career Group 1, taking the Nacional as the 9-5 favorite.
The most intriguing starter in the race appears to be two-time Group 1 winner Irwin (ARG), who is making his return to the races since finishing 14th in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan in March. Owned by Stud Volver Al Futoro and trained by Antonio Cintra, Irwin, a son of Seek Again, won four races in 2021, including a 2-length win in the Polla de Potrillos (G1) and a 9-length triumph in the Nacional (G1).
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini–Internacional to start in the 1 ½-mile Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23, 2023, to receive the rewards.