The Palermo Racecourse is noted for its monumental architecture and important race meets such as El Gran Premio Nacional, the Argentine derby, which takes place every November. Its 1.4-mile sandy track is one of the longest in the world.
The venue's opening in 1876 was a huge social event, with the city's railway putting into service an extra 50 carriages in an attempt to transport the thousands of people who wanted to attend the first race.
The Jockey Club, under the leadership of future Argentine president Carlos Pellegrini, took over the administration of the racecourse in 1883. The Tattersall de Palermo, a sales floor for racing thoroughbreds, was opened in 1898, and in 1908, the original viewing stands were replaced by the current elegant Beaux Arts tribune, which was designed by French architect Louis Faure-Dujarric.
November's Gran Premio race attracts a mixed crowd of all classes and ages to see the best of Argentina’s thoroughbred colts compete for big money. And if you fancy a flutter, betting is easy even with only a very limited knowledge of Spanish - just head to the "apuestas" huts and state the name of the hourse, the amount you want to bet, and the the type of bet you want to place (‘ganador’ to finish first, ‘segundo’ to finish first or second, or ‘tercero’ to come home in the top three.)
Tango singer Carlos Gardel was a regular at the races and owned his own horse, Lunático, to whom he dedicated the tango Leguisamo solo. The lyrics of many tangos demonstrate the city's passion for horse racing during the 1930s, 40s and 50s.