Argentina: El Latino – triumph and rancour in continental championship

Horse Racing Gran Premio Latinoamericano
Gustavo Calvente celebrates as Tetaze passes the post in the GP Latinoamericano. Photo: OSAF

By Nicholas Godfrey

Argentina: South America’s most valuable race, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano, resulted in a one-two for the home team on Saturday as Tetaze held off the favourite Mirinaque in a finish dominated by three-year-olds on heavy ground at San Isidro racecourse, just outside Buenos Aires.

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Known colloquially as ‘El Latino’ and sponsored by Longines, the GP Latinoamericano is a $500,000 contest that travels around the continent to be run in a different nation every 12 months.

In line with major race meetings virtually everywhere else across the globe, this year’s event was run without paying spectators owing to coronavirus precautions.

The winner Tetaze, a son of Argentine-based stallion Equal Stripes, is trained by Roberto Pelligatta and ridden by Gustavo Calvente. He scored by two lengths in a time of 2m03.71s.

“I do not know if this is the race I dreamed most of winning but it is a race we all want to win and few have been able to,” said the jockey, who was in tears after the race.

Generally considered South America’s most powerful racing nation, Argentina was winning the continent’s senior race for just the seventh time in 36 runnings. Though they have won three of the last four, they still trail Brazil (ten wins, Chile and Peru (nine each).

There was controversy after this year’s race as Brazilian champion Nao Do Mais, the front-running winner of the GP Carlos Pellegrini in December, raced extremely wide into the straight and carried well-fancied domestic Imperador with him.

Nao Da Mais, who passed the post in fifth, was demoted to seventh for his efforts, one place behind Imperador, whose chance was severely compromised in the straight.

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