Defending Champion Cool Day Takes On Argentine Horse Of The Year Mirinaque In Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini

Led by defending champion Cool Day (ARG), multiple Group 1-winner Village King (ARG), and 2020 Argentine Horse of the Year Mirinaque (ARG), a wide-open field of 19 runners has been entered for Saturday’s 1 ½-mile Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional (G1) at Hipódromo de San Isidro. The Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional winner will receive an automatic starting position into the 2022 $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

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 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held on Nov. 4-5 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional, South America’s most prestigious race, is the first Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of the 2022 season.

Francisco Pérez Werthein’s 4-year-old Cool Day (ARG), a son of John F Kennedy (IRE), won the 2020 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini-Internacional by a half-length over favored Pinball Wizard (ARG) in a thrilling stretch drive in just his fourth start. It was also the sixth victory in the race for trainer Alfredo Gaitan Dassie. Cool Day was sidelined with an injury for the next 10 months, but returned on Oct. 30 at San Isidro to win the 1 ½-mile Gran Premio Copa–Alfredo Lalor (G1) by 2 ½ lengths. Cool Day will be ridden by Eduardo Ortega Pavon from post 17.

Haras El Angel De Venecia’s 7-year-old Village King (ARG) has been a stakes winner in both Argentina and in the United States. Trained by Carly Etchechoury, Village King, a bay son of Campanologist out of the Pleasant Tap mare Villard, has won eight times in 20 starts. Following a third-place finish in the 2017 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini, Village King was sent to the U.S. where he made his next eight starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, highlighted by a win in the 2018 Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct. After an eighth-place finish in the Man o’ War (G1) at Belmont Park in May 2019, Village King was returned to Argentina and won his first race on more familiar ground, taking the 1 ½-mile Progreso (G2) at San Isidro.

Following a second-place finish in the Copa De Oro, Village King finished third in last year’s Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini, just slightly more than a half-length behind Cool Day. He continued his solid form into 2021, reeling off three consecutive turf victories at San Isidro, taking the Miguel Alfredo Martinez de Hoz (G1), the Porteno (G3) and the 25 de May–Copa Dr. Enrique de Hoz (G1). The streak ended Oct. 24 in the Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano (G1) on dirt at Maronas Nacional Racecourse in Uruguay, where he finished fourth, 6 ¼ lengths behind Aero Trem (BRZ). Martin Valle has the mount, breaking from post nine.

Mirinaque, an internationally campaigned 5-year-old, owned and trained by Maria Cristina Munoz, won four races on dirt during his 2019-20 season as a 3-year-old, including the Group 1 Nacional at Palermo. He finished second, just three-quarters of a length behind Nao Da Mais (BRZ) in the 2019 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini and also finished second in the Gran Premio Latinoamericano. Those performances earned him the Argentine Champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year titles.

He was sent to the U.S. in 2020, but did not win any of his five starts there. He finished fifth in the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar, and his best result was a runner-up placing in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance on the Saturday Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland. This year, after a seventh-place finish in the Red Sea Turf Handicap at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia, Mirinaque was sent back to Argentina, and in June finished second in the Gran Premio 25 De Mayo–Copa Dr. Enrique Olivera (G1). He finished fifth in the Gran Premio Latinoamericano as the 3-1 second choice, and in his most recent start on Nov. 19, finished second in the 1 ½-mile Dardo Rocha Internacional (G1) on dirt at La Plata in Argentina. Mirinaque will be ridden by Gustavo Calvente from post five.

Las Monjitas Polo’s 3-year-old Vespaciano (ARG), by Daniel Boone (BRZ), has won three of his four career starts, all at San Isidro. Trained by Carlos Daniel Etchechoury, Vespaciano broke his maiden on May 8 in a 7-furlong race, and won again at 7 furlongs on June 16 in the listed Clasico Manuel Anasagasti. He stepped up in class to the Group 1 Gran Premio Dos Mil Guineas on Aug. 7 at 1 mile, and came from last to first to win it by 4 lengths. Vespaciano suffered his first defeat in his most recent start, the 1 ¼-mile Gran Premio Jockey Club (G1) on Oct. 16. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, Vespaciano took the lead passing the half-mile pole and battled hard down the stretch before finishing third behind Zodiacal (ARG). Vespaciano will be ridden from post three by Adrian Giannetti.

Elegante De 9’s Sandino Ruler (ARG) has won three of his last four starts on dirt after an unsuccessful North American campaign in which he went winless in six starts. Trained by Juan Saldivia, Sandino Ruler, a 6-year-old son of Roman Ruler, won three consecutive races at Palermo, first taking the 1 1/8-mile Invierno Stakes on July 5. He won his next two starts, capturing the Peru Stakes (G2) on July 26 and then the 1 ¼-mile Italia Stakes (G3) on Sept. 26. His streak was stopped, however, when he finished eighth at the 5-1 third choice in the Gran Premio Latinoamericano. Juan Noriega has the mount, starting from post one.

Also of interest is Los Vikingos’ 4-year-old Athelsta (URU) who will be making his first start in Argentina after nine races at Maronas in Uruguay. Trained by Facundo Santesteban, Athelsta has won six times, including his last five. A son of Midas Touch (GB) out of the More Than Ready mare Mas Que Lista, Athelsta won his two most recent races at 1 1/2 miles, and by a nose both times. On Oct. 3, Athelsta took the Gran Premio de Honor Stakes and followed up that score by taking the Clasico Carlos Pellegrini on Nov. 6. Athelsta will break from post 19 under jockey Fabian Hector.

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. 24, 2022, to receive the rewards.

The post Defending Champion Cool Day Takes On Argentine Horse Of The Year Mirinaque In Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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