(The following post was written by Diego Mitagstein, editor of Turf Diario. Photos were also provided by Mr. Mitagstein, who is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.)
By Diego Mitagstein
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA–The 20th edition of the Carreras de las Estrellas Saturday at Palermo on dirt, Argentina’s version of the Breeders’ Cup, was a day with plenty of cinematic stories, most of them as if they had been written by the best of the scriptwriters. And it seemed that behind every sporting angle there lurked a sentimental one.
Maybe the highlight of the card was Lingote de Oro’s (Orpen) victory in the Estrellas Classic (G1-2000 meters), but just a neck behind that race for sheer drama were the big-as-possible farewell for El Garufa (Luhuk) winning the Estrellas Mile (G1-1600 meters) and the déjá vu of Ollagua (Pure Prize) in the Estrellas Distaff (G1-2000 meters).
Lingote de Oro also confirmed that, undoubtedly, he is the best stayer over sand in Argentina. In his fourth straight win, he beat former horse of the year Life of Victory (Incurable Optimist) by 1 1/2 lengths. In spite of having a bad start, the horse of the Stud Keyser Soze recovered rapidly, made a move on the turn, and with 400 meters to go in the stretch he took the lead and kept it for good. Jose R. Mendez was in the irons for trainer Ernesto Romero. He was bred by Haras La Providencia.
In the last start of his illustrious career, El Garufa said good bye with another incredible victory. Coming from behind, the son of Luhuk beat by a half-length the undefeated Shangai Express (Vision and Verse). Now, he will enter stud at Haras La Numancia, and he could never have found a better way to do it.
As in 2009, Ollagua gave a solid performance to win the Estrellas Distaff, this year beating Malpensa (Orpen) by a half-length, fighting for 350 meters as only the best champions can.
The 2-year-old races offered different story lines, but both winners were sired by Equal Stripes, one of the betters new sires of the country. He is a son of Abolengo sire Candy Stripes out of a mare by the Abolengo sire Equalize and was bred at Haras Abolengo, where he now stands. Moreover, each winner is out of a Ride the Rails mare. The latter also stood at Abolengo, where he sired the top-class Candy Ride, who is bred on the reverse cross to the Estrellas winners: he’s out of a Candy Stripes mare.
In the Juvenile Fillies (G1-1600 meters), Coordenada appeared like a ghost in the stretch to deny Liz for Sale (Not for Sale) a wire-to-wire win. A half-length was the difference between both.
In the Juvenile (G1-1600 meters), Paulinho remained undefeated in his third start in great form, taking the lead in the first meters of the stretch and going home with six lengths in front of Don Petardo (Mutakddim).
The Estrellas Sprint (G1-1000 m) was a sweet revenge for Que Vida Buena, who was second in the 2009 edition as the favorite. Ridden in a fabulous way by Uruguayan Pablo Falero, he beat La Liz by 2 1/2 lengths, giving a 1-2 to Bernstein, sire of both.
The charts of the races are below: