Carlos Gardel had many women in his life but his only true passion was horse racing and perhaps it is fitting that his composition “Por Una Cabeza”, about a man’s misfortune with women and horses, is one of the most instantly recognized melodies in the world…it has been featured in many films including “Schindler’s List” and “Scent of a Woman”…but horse racing was not kind to him, he lost alot of money in it and there were times when he was in serious financial difficulty inspite of the enormous sums he commanded…the one bright spot was his beloved horse “Lunatico”, which he bought for 2000 pesos and who, in thirty-six races, won 72, 450 pesos over a four-year career…for his first race on April 26, 1925, in a 1,200- meter distance, he finished third.…for most of his career he was ridden by the renown jockey Irineo Leguisamo who became a close of friend of Gardel’s…in fact Leguisamo inspired a tango called “Leguisamo Solo” which Gardel recorded in 1927 in Buenos Aires…


Gardel spent alot of his time thinking about horse racing; he would bet by proxy sending telegrams to Buenos Aires from Paris and New York…in a famous  episode in 1918, Gardel and Razzano were performing with the Roberto Firpo orchestra and the duo escaped in the middle of the night to travel all night by train to see a horse race to the immense ire of Firpo..not unlike that of the American West, the horse in Argentine culture was mythical; for the gaucho on the pampas, his horse was a symbol of his manhood and independance…horse racing had the mystique of macho and a man of means and consequently, often the theme of tangos; Gardel’s early recordings were full of references to horses…in a letter to Delfino, his administrator just a few days before his death, Gardel wrote in frustration, “…as for the horses, it’s ok to get rid of them…I have already done enough for them !”


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