Jockey Club

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Jockey Club

The Jockey Club, an upper-class institution imitating the French model, ostensibly promoted improved thoroughbred racehorses and also served as a center for socialization, communication, and recruitment among Latin American elites and resident foreigners. Exorbitant membership dues guaranteed exclusivity. The two most important Jockey Clubs were established in Mexico City and Buenos Aires. Oligarchs during the era of Porfirio Díaz founded the Mexican club in the capital city in 1881 in the Casa de Azuelos (the famous building covered with titles in the center of town, a famous Sanborn's restaurant in the early twenty-first century) with game rooms, a fencing salon, a restaurant, and a library. The following year the club built its own racetrack. It served as the social center for Mexico City society until the revolution forced its closing in 1914. Argentine president Carlos Pellegrini in 1882 organized the club to promote the breeding of fine horses (with government subsidies). The club offered members access to excellent wine cellars and a collection of European art. An inflammatory speech by Juan Domingo Perón in April 1953 inspired an angry crowd of descamisados ("shirtless ones"—Perón's working-class supporters) to sack the building housing the prestigious club, located on La Florida. Argentina's club was later rebuilt; it serves, together with the Palermo racetrack, as one of the finest sporting venues in South America.

See alsoPellegrini, Carlos; Sports.


Beezley, William H. Judas at the Jockey Club and Other Episodes of Porfirian Mexico, 2nd edition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

Edsall, Thomas M. Elites, Oligarchs, and Aristocrats: The Jockey Club of Buenos Aires and the Argentine Upper Class, 1920–1940. Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane University, 2000.

Newton, Jorge, and Lily de Newton. Historia del Jockey Club de Buenos Aíres. Buenos Aires: Ediciones L. N., 1966.

Richmond, Douglas W. Carlos Pellegrini and the Crisis of the Argentine Elites, 1880–1916. New York: Praeger, 1989.

                                   William H. Beezley