Sing-A-Song lands the Gran Premio Internacional Jose Pedro RamirezPICTURE: maronas.com.uy
Home win for Sing-A- Song in flagship event
Report: Uruguay, Wednesday
Maronas (Montevideo): Gran Premio Jose Pedro Ramirez (Grade 1) 1m4f, dirt, 3yo+
LOCAL favourite Sing-A-Song (Pedro Hernandez/Fernando Olivera) sparked jubilant scenes in Uruguayan's capital Montevideo when he posted a home victory in the 112th running of the nation's signature race, the Gran Premio Internacional Jose Pedro Ramirez.
The four-year-old's success in the feature event of a mammoth card was greeted joyously by a passionate crowd in excess of 15,000 at the impressive Maronas racetrack, where he was backed into favouritism at 2.15-1, a shade shorter than the 2009 winner Relento, who came fourth.
If there was excitement in the stands, it paled in comparison to the scene in the winner's circle, where chaos reigned after the race as Sing-A-Song was mobbed by connections, leaving horse and jockey Fernando Olivera at the centre of a scrum of well-wishers eager to celebrate a popular success.
Sing-A-Song, a son of Wild Event, was bred in Brazil by Haras Santa Maria de Araras but is trained in Uruguay by Pedro Hernandez, for whom he was completing a five-timer.
Fernando Olivera celebrates after his victory in Uruguay's premier racePICTURE: maronas.com.uy
He asserted his dominance in the final furlong for a decisive victory in a race carrying prize-money 2.8m Uruguayan pesos (£90,000), scoring by a length and a half over Desconfiado with Derby winner Escolaso third. The winner covered the 2,400-metre trip on dirt in 2m28.64s.
Sing-A-Song's victory provided the highlight of Uruguayan racing's showpiece occasion, where a 17-race card started at 2pm and finished under floodlights after 11pm.
A memorable occasion also featured skydivers, vintage cars, tango dancers and a mounted band among the non-equine attractions.
However, there was one unhappy aftermath to the main event, which ended tragically for Argentine visitor Flag Copado. Winner of the Estrellas Classic (Argentine Breeders' Cup) in 2008, he was destroyed after collapsing on the final turn.
Also on Wednesday. . .
Maronas: GP Pedro Pineyrua (Grade 1-Uru) 1m, dirt, 3yo+
Uruguay's champion trainer Walter Baez, formerly a champion jockey in the nation, enjoyed a Grade 1 success here with 17-1 shot Bombero (Heber Eugui), who scored by a length and a half from Brazilian visitor Conde Vic.
The winner, a three-year-old son of Ibero, represented a breakthrough at the top level for his breeders, the progressive Haras Cuatro Piedras, animpressive young operation based just outside Montevideo. The stud recently took the Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet to Uruguay as the nation's first shuttle stallion.
Maronas: GP Ciudad de Montevideo (Grade 1-Uru) 1m2f, dirt, 3yo+ f/m
Odds-on favourite La Espadilla (Jorge A Piriz/Jorge L Piriz) confirmed a huge local reputation when completing a four-timer in dominant fashion. A Uruguayan-bred four-year-old, she faced compettion on the front end before putting her rivals away in the long Maronas stretch.
Maronas: GP Maronas (Grade 2-Uru) 5f, dirt, 3yo+
Fui Tambem (Everton Rodriguez/Walter Baez), a four-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Blade Prospector, was the powerful winner of this race for the region's top sprinters to take his record in Uruguay since leaving Sao Paulo to four out of five.