By Nicholas Godfrey
San Isidro: Gran Premios Internacional Carlos Pellegrini G1 A$15m (£190,000) 1m4f, turf, 3yo+
Cool Day (Alfredo Gaitan Dassie/Eduardo Ortega Pavon)
Argentina: The Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge for 2021 began on Sunday when Cool Day claimed the historic GP Carlos Pellegrini, the race known as the ‘South American Arc’, at San Isidro on Saturday.
The three-year-old beat the much fancied pair Pinball Wizard and Village King to claim a near-£100,000 first prize in a race that dates back to 1887. He earns a guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar in November 2021.
Cool Day is a son of John F Kennedy trained by Argentine-based Alfredo Gaitan Dassie, who was winning the race for the fourth time.
Having broken his maiden only in October, the colt was sent off a 9-1 shot in a 13-horse field on the fourth start of his career. He was second, at 53-1, on his most recent outing in the GP Jockey Club, the second leg of the Argentine Triple Crown.
Ridden by Eduardo Ortega Pavon, Cool Day hugged the rail towards the rear of the main body of the field as longshot Senor Fancy set the pace. He was caught well out of his ground as the leader faded and then struggled for room after they turned for home, his rider switching him in and out in a bid to get a run.
However, the long San Isidro straight played to the colt’s strengths and he was finally able to get a gap inside his better-fancied rivals to just prevail by a half-length in a thrilling driving finish. Cool Day scored by a half-length over second favourite Pinball Wizard, who touched off Village King for the runner-up spot.
“I was in there and I had nowhere to go,” admitted winning rider Ortega, who saluted as he passed the post.
“I was wondering where I was going to go and I think I got stopped three times – but then I chose the inside and couldn’t change my mind again. He is a very good horse, better on grass than sand.”
GP Latinoamericano winner Tetaze, the 5-2 favourite, was fourth; final time for the race was 2m27.78s.
• Visit the Hipodromo San Isidro website