12/15/2008 12:00AM

Life of Victory claims Pellegrini prize

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SAN ISIDRO, ARGENTINA - Life of Victory was up late to win the 114th running of the Grade 1 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini by a half-length on Saturday. The Pellegrini, the most important race on the Argentine calendar, was raced under perfect late spring weather at Hipodromo San Isidro outside of Buenos Aires.

A 6-year-old son of Incurable Optimist out of La Gran Portada, Life of Victory closed fastest of all to claim victory over Negro Da Gaita. Reraise was another half-length back in third. Latency, last year's winner, finished sixth, four lengths back of the winner.

With jockey Rodrigo Blanco aboard, Life of Victory toured the 2,400 meters (nearly 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.52 over firm footing and earned $247,290 from the purse of $383,289. He finished fourth in last year's Pellegrini and came into this race off a fifth and a second in Grade 1 competition. Those followed two stakes wins, including a 16-length romp in the 2,400 meter Grade 3 Progreso at San Isidro. Coupled with City Banker, Life of Victory returned $3.05 as the favorite.

Carlos Etchechoury trains Life of Victory for owner Juan Garat. The same pair, along with jockey Blanco and breeder Orilla del Monte, won the 2004 Pellegrini with Fire Wall, who was also a son of Incurable Optimist.