The main horseracing venue in Uruguay, the Hipodromo Nacional de Maroñas has a seating capacity of 2,426 people and was established in1874 in Montevideo. The turf track measures 2,065m with an inside track that runs 2,000m. Although the very first racetrack that existed where the Hipodromo Nacional de Maroñas stands today was officially known as Pueblo Ituzaing’o, the common name was Circus of Maroñas. This is because the land in which the racecourse stands belonged to one Juan Maroñas.
The Hipodromo Nacional de Maroñas officially opened in 1889. The main attraction of the Hippodrome calendar is the Gran Premio José Pedro Ramírez and runs on January 6th , which is called “Three Kings Day.” Other races are the Grand Prix City of Montevideo, the Grand Prix Maroñas, the Grand Prix Pedro Piñeyrúa and the National Grand Prize. Horseracing runs all-year. The racecourse has attracted quite a number of international participants in the races, but the majority have been from the South America.
One can easily get to the Hipodromo Nacional de Maroñas by bus from the city centre. It is a little off the way for tourists and one needs to be extra careful around the racecourse. One interesting thing to note about the jockey who has carried the day most on Three Kings Day is that there is a forty-year difference between the first time and the last time he won the Gran Premio José Pedro Ramírez, the first time being 1926! His name is Irineo Leguisamo. And he hailed from a city in Uruguay called Salto, just like Luis Suarez the footballer!
The Gran Premio José Pedro Ramírez, fondly known as the Ramirez, has also been noted to be the one race that has not had allegations of doping, contention over the winners or any scandal whatsoever, and this is pretty cool is you are a fan of the sport.