|Race Day Review Day 24 Saturday 7th July 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
‘Big’ day for classic stars
THE BIG SQUEEZE was made to work harder than expected for victory in the curtain and feature event of an eight-race card when horse racing continued at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. After her tremendous finishing kick to place third in the Midsummer Classic five weeks earlier, last year’s St Ann’s Stakes heroine was expected to run rings around her fellow West Indian-bred three-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Gleneagle Stakes. But The Big Squeeze had to survive some anxious moments in the homestretch before drawing away in the closing stages to win the 1,750-metre contest by 3 ¼ lengths. The excitement was provided by Charming Lass, who drew alongside the 3/5 betting favourite turning for home and had fans on the edge of their seats until mid-stretch. But ace jockey Nobel Abrego had left something in reserve in the tank of his charge and The Big Squeeze ended up winning fairly comfortably in the end. Still, it was a very commendable effort by Charming Lass, who was racing for only the third time in her career, seven times less than her conqueror.
And what made the performance of Cecil Camacho’s chestnut even more remarkable was the fact that she was one of just two of the 13 in the field who had never previously been further than 1,200 metres. After an eye-catching triumph on her May 19 debut, Charming Lass finished third three weeks later, more than three lengths behind runner-up Lady Angelica. She was receiving five kilos from her John O’Brien-trained stable companion in that contest, but finished half-length ahead of the Jamaican at level weights this time. Lady Angelica, the St Ann’s runner-up, was 4 ¼ lengths in front of a fast-finishing A Great Moment, who ran well despite the fact that she had competed only seven days earlier – and scored easily on her return from a four-month break. Consideritdone rounded out the top five in the Grade II contest and the HI-5 payout was a very generous $1,861.60. The Big Squeeze was scoring for the first time since Boxing Day (December 26) when she turned in her maidens’ certificate in the St Ann’s Stakes – the leading event for the West Indian-bred juvenile fillies on the local calendar. And the $90,000 winners’ cheque ensured that the daughter of Big Country moved past $300,000 in career earnings for owners D Boyz Syndicate.
The pride and joy of the stable of young trainer Michael Carew Jr was bred by Wilma Primus, owner of Carnival Messiah, who became the very first horse to win the triple crown (Easter Guineas, Midsummer Classic and Trinidad Derby Stakes) at Santa Rosa Park in 2001. The Big Squeeze could next be seen in the inaugural $500,000 T & T Breeders Classic on Emancipation Day (August 1) and considering the fact that she was only beaten a length in the “Midsummer”, the chestnut could be one of the main contenders for the whopping $300,000 winners’ cheque. Midsummer Classic runner-up Big Thing, who finished just a short-head in front of The Big Squeeze in the second leg of the local triple crown, was in the spotlight just before her. And the David Mahabr-owned son of Settle Up defeated a bunch of 70-50 rated horses by 1 ¼ lengths. The bang-in-form Believe It Or Not looked very dangerous in mid-stretch, but, as always, Abrego had left something in Big Thing’s tank and Maniram Maharaj’s gelding was forced to settle for second in the 1,750-metre affair. This four-year-old son of Western Envoy has been the runner-up four times and scored on three occasions in his last seven outings.
D’Sportsman can no longer be considered a turf sprinter as he ran a very game third at long odds after attempting to make all the running. The Red Skull followed to extend his streak of finishing on the board to eight, while Pistons And Rings, who had finished sixth last time out in the “Midsummer”, disappointed again as the grey ended up fifth of eight. Like The Big Squeeze, Big Thing was scoring for only the second time in his career. But the similarities don’t end there as the horse who has finished second on four occasions, including in the Easter Guineas and Midsummer, also passed $300,000 in career earnings. However while there was a drought of a little over six months between wins for The Big Squeeze, Big Thing had go wait eight months after scoring in the Stud Farm Association Breeders Stakes in early November. The photo-finish camera was needed to separate the, in the “Midsummer”, but Rohit Dube’s inmate ran more than a second and a half faster than the filly on this occasion and will definitely be one of the main contenders if he takes his place in the T & T Breeders Stakes. It was a grand day for favourites as the leading fancy prevailed in six of the eight events during the 24th round of the Arima Race Club’s 2012 Season.
Be Precise set the tone in the opener when the Diane Scott-bred and owned four-year-old ran away from a bunch of West Indian-bred four-year-old and over maidens to take the 1,200-metre contest by 8 ¾ lengths. And right after, Smart American made all the running and held on by a length to deny the closing King Whistler in the 1,100-metre affair – one of three races switched to the main course because of a waterlogged turf track – for 90-70 rated horses. It was the fourth triumph of the season for the Harold Chadee-owned and trained son of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Smarty Jones. Alexander then made it two for Chadee and a hat-trick for favourites when took the 1,350-metre event for 60-40 rated horses by three lengths. And after Fire N’ Faith and Bananachips both prevailed at odds of 5/1 and paid the same amount to win ($6,50), favourites were triumphant in the last three races for another hat-trick. Classic Material was the first when the Gerry Harding-bred and owned four-year-old came late to beat a bunch of 55-35 rated horses by 1 ¾ lengths over a distance of 1,200 metres.
Big Thing and The Big Squeeze then made it a dream day for favourites, but still punters failed to solve the Pick 6 puzzle for the sixth race day in succession and almost $110,000 will be in the carry-over pool for this Saturday’s card. Chadee, Dube (Fire N’ Faith, Big Thing) and champion trainer O’Brien (Bananachips, Classic Material ) shared training honours, but the only rider to score more than once was the Panamanian Abrego.
Racing continues at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 July 2012 18:10 )|