Gran Premio Latinoamericano: The Champions League of horse racing

Updated 11:26 AM EDT, Fri March 22, 2019
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Japanese horse race fans cheer up before the start of the 2,400-metre (1.5 mile) Japan Cup horse race at the Tokyo Race Course on November 25, 2012. Gentildonna edged past Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Orfevre by a nose to become the first three-year-old filly to win the Japan Cup horse racing.    AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI        (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Japanese horse race fans cheer up before the start of the 2,400-metre (1.5 mile) Japan Cup horse race at the Tokyo Race Course on November 25, 2012. Gentildonna edged past Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Orfevre by a nose to become the first three-year-old filly to win the Japan Cup horse racing. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
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Jockey Frankie Dettori, on his horse Enable, races to win the 96th Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe horse race at the Chantilly racecourse, north of Paris on October 1, 2017. 
Frankie Dettori won a record fifth Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as 10-11 favourite Enable stormed to victory at Chantilly. The three-year-old John Gosden-trained filly Enable got off to a fast start and was perfectly placed when Dettori unleashed her in the home straight to easily beat Cloth of Stars (25-1) into second by two and a half lengths, with Michael Stout's Ulysses (9-1) third.
 / AFP PHOTO / Thomas SAMSON        (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images
Jockey Frankie Dettori, on his horse Enable, races to win the 96th Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe horse race at the Chantilly racecourse, north of Paris on October 1, 2017. Frankie Dettori won a record fifth Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as 10-11 favourite Enable stormed to victory at Chantilly. The three-year-old John Gosden-trained filly Enable got off to a fast start and was perfectly placed when Dettori unleashed her in the home straight to easily beat Cloth of Stars (25-1) into second by two and a half lengths, with Michael Stout's Ulysses (9-1) third. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: A guest on day three, Ladies Day, of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2019 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

Celebrating the very best thoroughbred racehorses in South America, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano is the most prestigious date on the continent’s racing calendar.

The race, also known at the Longines Latin American Grand Prix, was first run in Uruguay in 1981 and, much like the Breeders’ Cup in the USA, is held at a different location every year.

A constantly changing venue allows the race to stay fresh, with the distance and surface varying every year.

The stunning Club Hipico de Santiago, Chile, played host to the latest edition of the spectacle, in a country steeped in racing history. The 150-year-old venue was designed in a European style and shares a striking resemblance to the iconic Longchamp Racecourse in Paris.

When the thoroughbreds fly out of the stalls to the cry of an impassioned crowd, it’s not just the $500,000 prize purse up for grabs, though. National pride is also a huge part of South America’s richest horse race.

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National pride

Entrants represent their countries in the Latinoamericano – much like in the Olympic Games.

This year’s race featured participants from four visiting countries – Peru, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina – who are all looking to challenge their Chilean hosts for the prize.

Brazil is the most successful country in the race’s 35-year history, with 10 winners, but the Chilean horses had a unique advantage at the Club Hipico de Santiago.

“We run clockwise, all other race tracks in South America run counterclockwise. It’s an advantage for certain, the times we host the Latino, we only have victories from Chilean horses,” racecourse manager Oscar Vargas told CNN Winning Post.

It’s a pattern which once again repeated itself in 2019, with favorite Ya Primo winning Chile its ninth victory.

It was winning trainer Guillermo Aguirre’s first victory in the race, a feat which left him visibly emotional.

“It’s such a great feeling, to be up there with the other horses amongst such great talent. I lost my wife four months ago and I’m quite sure she’s helping me from the sky,” he told CNN’s Winning Post.

Watch the video at the top of the page to see CNN Winning Post’s guide to the prestigious Gran Premio Latinoamericano.