|Race Day Review Day 20 Wednesday 30th May 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
RACE DAY REVIEW
DAY 20 Wednesday 30th
Onetokeep back on track
ONETOKEEP bounced back in style and Bruceontheloose continued to break new ground when horse racing continued at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, with a massive card sponsored by Carib Brewery Limited. The highlight of the11-race Indian Arrival Day holiday programme was the Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic and Onetokeep returned to the top of the West Indian-bred three-year-old ladder with his hard-fought victory in the Grade I contest. The triumph also ensured that there will be no triple crown winner for the ninth straight year as Unquestionable ended up a very disappointing ninth of 13 in the 1,900-metre affair. The “Midsummer” is the middle leg of the series and the horse owned by Arima Race Club (ARC) president Hugh Lee King needed to win it and the Trinidad Derby on Republic Day (September 24) to become only the third triple crown winner in the 18 years of centralised racing in Arima. But Unquestionable, who began the series with a bang when he won the Easter Guineas at odds of 10/1 on Easter Monday (April 9), failed to fire and finished off the board for the first time in his six-race career. Onetokeep had placed third as the clear 3/2 favourite in that 1,800-metre contest, but he had reportedly “swallowed his tongue” then and punters decided to stick with him. And the John O’Brien-trained gelding repaid them for keeping faith when he prevailed by a length at the very same 3/2 price. After being in company with One Fortheroad and Director Dream behind early leader Raise Your Glass until the half-way stage, Onetokeep was sent to the lead by Brian Harding and he eventually held off closer Big Thing to score for his third victory in five career starts.
Big Thing, who had finished twice as fast as everyone else to occupy the same position in the Guineas, looked a certain winner when he came to challenge at the top of the homestretch. But the David Mahabir-owned son of Settle Up could not reproduce the devastating kick and was actually almost caught by a horse which was able to, long shot The Big Squeeze. The chestnut filly had disappointed backers in her three starts since winning the St Ann’s Stakes at the end of last year, but just failed by short-head to snatch second at odds of 45/1. It should be noted the top three finishers were competing for the first time since the Guineas. Nine of the Guineas candidates returned for the “Midsummer” and Pistons And Rings, the only other from the group without a “prep”, ended up sixth. Although the glory went to Onetokeep, the best performance was arguably delivered by Director Dream. Racing for just the third time in his career, the son of 1,350-metre track record holder Film Director, battled Onetokeep until mid-stretch and was eventually beaten by less than three lengths into fourth at odds of 20/1. Director Dream was the only Jamaican-bred horse to finish in the money, emulating the achievement of .One Fortheroad for the same country in Guineas. But One Fotheroad backed out at the half-way stage this time and Juan Navarro’s chestnut who had won his “prep” by almost 20 lengths could only finish seventh this time around. He was just caught by a neck at the finish line for the final cheque by Pistons And Rings, who ended up three lengths behind Santa Rosa Classic winner Nettoyer.
The $450,000 “Midsummer” is the richest race contested for the season thus far and Onetokeep picked up a whopping $270 for owner/breeder Mary Camacho and is now less than $10,000 away from $450,000 in career earnings. It was Harding’s fourth victory in the event, coming 28 years after his first success aboard Carl Star. The multiple champion jockey was also triumphant in the final “Midsummer” at Queen’s Park Savannah with Renegade in 1993 and five years later aboard Braveheart. Champion trainer O’Brien, who won the race as an owner in ’85 with eventual triple crown winner Sky Rocket, had previously conditioned Bound To Dance in 2000 and Bruceontheloose to win this race. ‘Bruce’ prevailed three years ago in his first appearance since coming across from his native Jamaica and marked the anniversary with yet another victory – in the Santa Rosa Dash. It six-year-old grey 19th triumph from 26 starts down here and his tremendous record has resulted in him capturing the prestigious Horse of the Year title in ’09 and ’10 and being the only horse to cross $2million in earnings in the history of local racing. Bruceontheloose is actually on his way to the $3million-mark after picking up another $90,000 to sail past $2,700,000. This Grade II 1,200-metre affair was first contested in ’97 and no horse had been able to repeat until the Tres Amigos-owned son of Wheelaway did the trick last year. Bruceontheloose not only won in back-to-back years, he set track record on both occasions. His time of 1:10.58 on this occasion was less than a second slower than last year’s record, but just completing the hat-trick was an accomplishment in itself. After dethroning ‘Bruce’ in the Stewards Cup last November, Signal Alert was expected to pose a serious threat. But the American-bred four-year-old reared up at the start and Stewards Cup fourth Sacred Trust also broke slowly to virtually ensure that the streak would continue.
It left ‘Bruce’ to contend with rising stars Ignition Coil and Youaresobad, but with just a handful of starts under their belt, it was always going to be a monumental task. Still, American-bred three-year-old Ignition Coil, who had won his last three starts, gave a very good account of himself and finished just 1 ¼ lengths behind his stable companion in second position. Bruceontheloose had relieved Smart American of the lead at the far turn and cruised home in the hands of Panamanian Nobel Abrego. Although they had no chance of winning after coming out of the gates, Sacred Trust and Signal Alert ran on in the stretch for third and fourth, respectively, while Youaresobad was next to cross the finish line. Early leader Smart American, a four-time winner this year, ended up sixth, while the locally-bred Skyline Pigeon, who had dead-headed with Signal Alert for victory five weeks earlier, finished ahead of just Lawbreaker in the $150,000 contest. In the day’s other spotlight event, Mobthewarrior, who came across from Canada late last year, finally got off the mark in Trinidad on the seventh attempt with the Stephen Jardim-trained five-year-old just caught odds-on favourite Gabby’s Gold in the closing stages to win the Mackeson 1,750-metre contest by half-length.
Gabby’s Gold, attempting to score for the fourth time in five career outings, was another 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Golden Dixieland, while Lang Amour rounded out the top four in the contest for 100-80 rated horses. And B’s Passion, one of the dominant West Indian-bred three-year-olds horses of last season, also came late to prevail by half-length when the favourite denied Slippery Sam just before the Midsummer Classic – in the Guinness event for 85-65 rated horses. Go For The Gold and Bears And Bulls were also in this 1,350-metre event, but the 2010 Derby runner-up and ’11 Derby winner could only finish ninth and tenth, respectively of the 14 runners on their return from breaks. With 157 horses listed in the programme, it was the biggest race card since centralisation.
Racing continues at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday with the 21st round of the ARC’s 2012 Season.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 04 June 2012 13:25 )|