Press Release

Il Mercato Holds Off Sixties Song to Win Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina and Gains Automatic Berth into 2019 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf

Photo credit: Juan I. Bozzello/Turf Diario

BUENOS AIRIES (December 15, 2018) – In a thrilling finish, Ricardo Benedicto's Stud Rubio B’s 3-year-old Il Mercato (ARG) prevailed by a head at 17-1 over the favored Sixties Song (ARG), with For the Top (ARG), the Argentine Derby (G1) winner, in third, to win Saturday’s $319,394, 1 ½ -mile Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) by a head at San Isidro Racecourse. As result, Il Mercato becomes the first horse to earn an automatic berth into the 2019 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of more than 85 stakes races, whose winners -receive automatic starting positons and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park, in California, Nov. 1-2.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Il Mercato to start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, which will be run at 1 1/2 miles. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.

Il Mercato, a dark bay son of Not for Sale (ARG) out of the Equalize mare Equal Pretty (ARG), trained by Juan Carlos and Juan Sebastián Maldotti and ridden by Juan Carlos Noriega, won his third race in seven starts. Breaking quickest from the gate in the 18-horse field, Noriega shot Il Mercato to the front and confidently held that position just off the rail through the top of the stretch. The first challenge came from the 3-year-old For the Top (6-1), who closed strongly in deep stretch along the inside and put his head in front. But Il Mercado fought back to retake the lead and had just enough to hold off Sixties Song, the 2016 Carlos Pellegrini winner, to prevail at the wire.

Il Mercato completed the 1 ½ miles in 2:28.52 over a course listed as heavy.

"We always were confident with Il Mercato, and we were waiting see him running on the front,” said Juan Carlos Maldotti, now a four-time Pellegrini winner. “He enjoyed it and also enjoy the fight. That’s the reason we never have doubts about the final result when Sixties Song came from behind."

Il Mercato came into the Carlos Pellegrini off a third-place finish, beaten six lengths, in the 1 ½-mile Nacional Stakes (G1) on Nov. 11 at Palermo as the 3-1 favorite. He broke his maiden by nine lengths in his fourth start in an 11-furlong race on Sept. 16 at Palmero. He followed that performance with a second place finish in the 11-furlong Eduardo Casey (G2) also at Palermo on Oct. 15.

The video of the Carlos Pellegrini can be viewed with this link


About Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Graded Stakes with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Stay Connected

More News

  • March 14, 2019

    Statement from Breeders' Cup Limited

    Like all of racing we are profoundly saddened by the loss of a life at any racetrack and we are heartbroken for those whose livelihoods are dedicated to the care of our horses. As an organization, the Breeders’ Cup stands for the highest levels of safety and integrity. We support the effort by The Stronach Group to propose important changes and we commit to working with the racing industry in California and elsewhere to achieve meaningful reform on a national basis.

  • February 23, 2019

    Statement from Breeders’ Cup Limited on the loss of 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway

    “Battle of Midway was a gifted and extremely accomplished racehorse. We extend our deepest sympathies to Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and all those who took care of Battle of Midway during his brilliant racing career.”

  • February 17, 2019

    Inti Goes Wire to Wire in February Stakes in Tokyo and Gains First Automatic Berth into 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic

    Shigeo Takeda’s 5-year-old homebred Inti (JPN), the 2.6-1 favorite under jockey Yutaka Take, controlled the pace throughout Sunday’s 36th running of the one-mile, $1,879,000 February Stakes (G1) on dirt at Tokyo Racecourse, winning by a neck over second choice Gold Dream (JPN), and secured the first automatic berth into this year’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.