|Race Day Preview Day 20 Wednesday 30th May 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
RACE DAY PREVIEW
DAY 20 Wednesday 30th
Record-breaking ‘Carib’ Day
MORE horses have been declared to compete on a single day of horse racing in Trinidad than any other in the 18 years of centralisation at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. The record-breaking day will take place on Wednesday and Indian Arrival Day will be the first race day with as many as 11 events since Boxing Day. The December 26 card set a record with 140 declared runners, but that mark has been shattered as Wednesday’s Carib Brewery Limited-sponsored programme will have as many as 17 more horse names. Boxing Day edged out Indian Arrival Day to win the betting turnover race for last year, but the size and quality of Wednesday’s card could result in a biggest handle at the windows since the sport found a home in Arima in February 1994. No more than 16 horses can compete in a race on the main course, but a whopping 20 have been declared in two events and there are 15-horse fields in two others. The maximum amount of horses allowed to compete in a turf event is 12, but we have fields of 15 and 20 in two of the four grass races during the 20th round of the Arima Race Club’s (ARC) 2012 Season.
Even in the good ole days of horse racing at Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, it is difficult to remember any race day with 20 horses declared to face the starter in as many as three events. As much as Indian Arrival Day is about quantity, it is even more about quality as two of the most important races on the local calendar will be in the spotlight. The Carib Santa Rosa Dash for the best sprinters in the country will be contested for the first time on the holiday card to supplement the Carib Brewery Limited Midsummer Classic. This $450,000 contest is the fourth richest event in the country, surpassed only by the T&T Breeders Classic, Trinidad Derby and Gold Cup, which offer $50,000 more in total prize-money. Actually, the T&T Breeders Classic was only added to the calendar this year and will involve locally-bred horses doing battle over 1,800 metres on Emancipation Day (August 1). Unquestionable, Onetokeep, Nettoyer, Big Thing and It Got To Be Me are among the contenders in the Midsummer Classic and they could all also be seen in the “Breeders Classic.”
Jamaican-bred three-year-olds have been dominating ours in the classic events over the last few years, but the locals struck back when this year’s Triple Crown kicked off on Easter Monday (April 9). The locals swept the first three places on the board in the Easter Guineas as Unquestionable prevailed from Big Thing and Onetokeep in the Grade I 1,800-metre contest.The fourth-placed One Fortheroad was the only Jamaican-bred horse to earn a cheque as It Got To Be Me and Nettoyer were fifth and sixth, respectively. The “Midsummer” will be the penultimate event and 13 West Indian-bred three-year-olds have been declared to face the starter at 4.50 p.m. The Grade I contest is a hundred metres further than the Guineas and the extra distance should suit Big Thing better than the others. Although he finished in the money in all five starts as a juvenile last year, the David Mahabir-owned son of Settle Up did not live up to expectations. Big Thing then failed to finish on the tins in his first two starts this season, but astute punters knew he was waiting for two turns and he finished twice as fast as everyone else to grab second place in the Guineas.
However the lovely-looking Rohit Dube inmate has not faced the starter in the seven ensuing weeks and we will have to wait and see if this turns out to be an advantage or a disadvantage. Onetokeep is the same boat, but the other main contenders have all returned to the track since the Guineas. Onetokeep, the heavy favourite on Easter Monday, was beaten by two lengths in the Guineas and that third-place effort was the lowest that he had ever finished. However the Mary Camacho-bred and owned Flamingo Stakes winner is far less experienced than Big Thing with just four starts under his belt in his career. One Fortheroad has also faced the starter just four times, but the way that he has been improving would suggest that he is also a leading contender.
Racing for just the third time, the Juan Navarro-owned chestnut went very wide at the home turn and still finished only less than three lengths adrift of the winner in fourth in the Guineas. One Fortheroad came back a couple weeks later against some moderate maidens, but his victory by almost 20 lengths without being asked a question was the perfect “prep” for Wednesday. Nettoyer failed to finish in the money in the Guineas, but he was only beaten by about four lengths after a troubled trip and could return with a vengeance. The Laurence Berment-owned gelding has, in fact, already done that when he turned the tables on Unquestionable and It Got To Be Me to win the Santa Rosa Classic over 1,200 metres three weeks ago. It Got To Be was runner-up that day, just as she had been in the Royal Colours Classic and Ibis Stakes. But the Harold Chadee-owned and trained daughter of A Great Team finished off the board (fifth) for the first time when she attempted two turns for the first time in the Guineas and may not appreciate the extra hundred metres in the “Midsummer.”
Being the winner of the Guineas, Unquestionable is obviously the only horse capable of winning the triple crown and joining Carnival Massiah (2001) and Top Of The Class (’03) as the only ones to win the Guineas, Midsummer Classic and Derby in the same year since centralisation. The Shaffique Khan-trained son of A Great Team was only third in the Santa Rosa Classic, but he looked so much more comfortably over two turns and the fact that he runs close to the pace means that it is unlikely that he will encounter any traffic problems. Unquestionable earned $189,000 for breeder/owner Hugh Lee King in the Guineas and the ARC president will be licking his lips at the prospect of collecting an even bigger ($270,000) winners’ cheque this time. Pistons And Rings and Taste Of Texas may not have winning chances, but one of them may be able to finish in the money. The former is a two-turn winner who lacks consistency, while the latter has only raced twice, but scored on debut and then finished a close-up fourth three weeks later in the Flamingo Stakes on March 10.
The Santa Rosa Dash is the first sprint of the season for the top class horses and involves the horses which occupied the first two positions in the Stewards Cup – the most prestigious sprint on the local calendar. Signal Alert nosed out the mighty Bruceontheloose for the first time in that Grade I affair last November and he could do it again over the same 1,200-metre distance. The Errol Stables-owned American-bred four-year-old looked better than ever when he returned from a layoff of over four months a month ago and dead-heated with Skyline Pigeon for victory, despite giving the consistent locally-bred horse as much as eight kilos. It was Signal Alert’s third victory from his last four starts, but the Glenn Mendez inmate may still start as the underdog in his attempt to stop Bruceontheloose again.
After all the two-time Horse of the Year has the awesome record of 18 victories from 25 starts at Santa Rosa Park and is not only the defending champ, but winner of this race in a record time of 1:09 2/5 seconds last year. Youaresobad and Ignition Coil, a winner of his last three starts, are also in the field of eight for the $150,000 contest, but although the American-bred duo are expected to be stars, they may not be ready for the two heavyweights quite yet. Also included in the Grade II affair is Skyline Pigeon, the only locally-bred horses in the race, as well as last year’s Stewards Cup fourth Sacred Trust. The ‘Dash’ is the sixth race of the card and will get the Pick 6 wager going at 2.10 p.m.Over $16,000 is in the carry-over pool in this wager after punters have been unable to pick the winners in the six designated events in the last two race days.
There will be HI-5 betting in the fifth (1.32 p.m.), seventh (2.50 p.m.), ninth (4.10 p.m.) and curtain (5.30 p.m.) events.
Post time is 11 a.m.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 25 May 2012 14:04 )|