The Carreras de las Estrellas festival is, since 1991, one of the most important events on the Argentinian equestrian calendar. Its prestige even allowed to overcome certain economical contingencies of the country and to become a great reference for owners, breeders, jockeys and trainers, who particularly take into account the implications of these tests when assessing the career of their best horses.
That is the main reason why there is a massive turnout in each year’s Carreras de las Estrellas. The best thoroughbred horses, together, in every category, on the same day, are an attraction hard to resist; an appointment you should not miss. And this reaches not only the usual Argentinian horse racing audience. This series of competitions and all the celebration that surrounds it, also attracts those who really know how to enjoy a high quality show.
The Fundación Equina Argentina (FEAR), organizer of the Carreras de las Estrellas, inspired itself on the Breeder’s Cup from the United States, a wonderful idea that started more than 25 years ago and that every year adds new attractions, such extent that now it is a two days event. Hernán Ceriani Cernadas, Pedro Blaquier, Raúl Félix María Lottero, “Lito” Bestani, Luis Villamil, Ignacio Correas, Juan Carlos Bagó and Alejandro Menditeguy took the idea and began their path here when they laid the foundation stone on October 24, 1989.
The Carreras de las Estrellas are held on one day, alternating each year between the San Isidro and Palermo racetracks, the most distinguished settings of the country.
The incentive program of the Carreras de las Estrellas consists on creating a fund for each thoroughbred horse from its birth, with contributions from the breeder and the owner in equal proportion. Then, those funds conforms the prizes of each Carrera de las Estrellas. In the year 2000 the so-called Bonus Estrellas Plus was added, an extra sum gathered by the producers to add in the most important classics of the mentioned racetracks. The competitors of the Carreras de las Estrellas are chosen among those who are part of the program, according to the score they obtained in their latest year career.
In 2012, our event will take place at the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo [Argentinian Palermo Racetrack], founded in 1876. It is located on one of the most exceptional areas of Buenos Aires, surrounded by parks and neighbour of the Campo Argentino de Polo [Argentinian Polo Course], where every year the Campeonato Argentino Abierto [Argentinian Open Championship] of that sport takes place, the most important competition of the world. On November, Palermo becomes the epicenter of the horse in Argentina, since de Abierto de Polo begins and our Derby, the Gran Premio Nacional, takes place. In the last few years the racetrack has entered a stage of renovation of the facilities, preserving the facades and lounges present since its inauguration. The new amenities for the enthusiasts in the three grandstands and in the fields include a giant screen system, exclusive in the country.
In 2011, the event took place at the Hipódromo de San Isidro [San Isidro Racetrack], which opened on 1935 and is property of the Jockey Club. Located in the area of San Isidro, in the Province of Buenos Aires, it covers an area of 148 hectares, which includes a training center where about 2000 thoroughbreds live together. This setting, considered one of the most beautiful ones in the world, has both grass and sand tracks. Furthermore, a satellite station is available, which enables the transmission of digitised and encoded images. On December, San Isidro offers two international days and it is a magnet for owners and enthusiasts, especially because the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini takes place, which is the most important race in South America. Its value even transcends the mere equestrian event and transforms the racetrack into a social meeting point, with capacity for over 100,000 people, distributed along the grandstands, the wide parks full of green and the lounges. San Isidro is, on the other hand, the capital of rugby in Argentina; a residential area that cohabits with the great gastronomic offer and the offices of multinational companies.
The success of FEAR’s initiative, a non-profit association formed by the most important breeders of the country, that was accompanied by the rest of the equestrian community, is based on the fact that almost half of the products that are born each year are part of the program. Argentina is the forth world producer of racehorses, with about 8000 births a year.
Carrera de las Estrellas comprises eight categories since 2011: Classic, Distaff, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Sprint, Mile, Juniors Sprint and Provincias Argentinas, this last one for horses which only compete in Argentina outside Buenos Aires, and horses of every speciality participate, led by the most important riders. The most outstanding jockeys of South America are concentrated in Argentina, such as the Uruguayan Pablo Falero, Peruvian Edwin Talaverano and Brazilian Jorge Ricardo, with almost 12,000 triumphs and fighting with the Canadian Russell Baze for the first place in the world victory records. Among the Argentine, Juan Carlos Noriega stands out.
Six of the festival’s tests belong to Group 1, the maximum category of the scale regulated by the International Cataloguing Standard. The Classic, with a 2000 meters distance, gathers together the horses of the highest level, which take part in the Triple Crown, Carlos Pellegrini and República Argentina, the most distinguished competitions of the country, most of them with more than 100 years of tradition. This year, the race for horses that only perform in provinces apart from Buenos Aires will be held at La Punta, a modern racetrack in San Luis Province, which was built in 2007 and integrates the Organización Sudamericana de Fomento del Sangre Pura de Carrera (OSAF).
Horses like El Compinche, Refinado Tom, Sei Mi, Potrillón, Intérprete, Team, Wally, Ollagua and Latency are some examples of those that brought prestige to the event, and at the same time added a unique victory to their career, which transcended their boundaries. Many of the Carreras de las Estrellas winners gathered this way greater merit to become excellent stud horses, here and around the world.
Likewise, the influence of this series is significant in the choice of the best horses of every season, with the Carlos Pellegrini awards (similar to Eclipse from the United States and Cartier, in Europe). The horses that succeeded in these tests are usually chosen for these awards, selected by specialised press and turf institutions.
Every year, by the end of the first semester, the Carreras de las Estrellas is the event that settles the tendency for the rest of the season, in which the classics of Argentine turf take place. For this reason and the fact that the racetracks dress up for the occasion and compete to rise above themselves year after year, this festival gathers the most demanding horsemen, the most powerful owners, visitors from all around the world that arrive to admire the horse of these lands and an exceptional public, which crowds in the grandstands and provides a unique frame to this event.