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This is a post mostly in praise of Argentina, a land of quiet beauty even as their winter has just begun. There today, in company with my associates Bob Fierro and Jay Kilgore, I spent the day at the races at San Isidro for the 21st renewal of the Carreras de las Estrellas.

We were the guests of the well-known stud farm El Paraiso, and the entire group were treated to a day of exciting races, good food, and general good fellowship. Because, let’s face it, if people watching horses race at the highest levels, cannot find enjoyment in their fellow travelers, something is amiss.

We had a blast.

The weather was much like what we would find for the typical Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky or New York. The sky was overcast, the wind was robust, and the temps were low. The conditions were bracing for the horses, however, and they responded with high spirits and lively competition. Some longshots won; some favorites won.

One of the most popular winners was Star Runner, a son of the great South American stallion Southern Halo, who was a first-rate winner of the Estrellas Classic at 2,000 meters. That’s about twice as long as the distance at which most of Southern Halo’s previous Estrellas winners found success, but Star Runner is not an average good horse and is a fitting book end to the outstanding career of Southern Halo as a sire in Argentina.

Another outstanding feature of the day was the plentiful and well-prepared food. The Argentines piled it on all day long. We cannot complain, but a vegetarian would surely wither away in this meat-loving country.

And as a sporting dessert to our long day of races (a card of 20 for those hardy enough to stay for the whole thing), we saw the handsome Colonial Affair colt Cafrune put in the most exceptional stretch run of the day to capture the G1 Estrellas Mile for owner S de B. The muscular dark bay 4yo resembles his broodmare sire Interprete and was bred by Haras El Paraiso, which bred and still stands Interprete, as well as the sire Colonial Affair and the major sires Incurable Optimist and Sebi Halo.

And now, I’m off to a late urban snack which is unlikely to feature vegetables unless fermented grapes count. Ciao.