|Race Day Review Day 25 Saturday 14th July 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
RACE DAY REVIEW
DAY 25 Saturday 14th
Mosca steals the spotlight
DERICK MOSCA had a grand day as two of his classic contenders sparkled and his importation Buffalo Soldier made a triumphant debut at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. Buffalo Soldier won the feature and most exciting of the eight races after the photo-finish camera was needed to separate three horses in the 1,750-metre contest for 85-65 rated horses. Turning for home, the American-bred three-year-old looked poised to go past Go For The Gold and Esquire, but jockey Ronald Ali opted for the inside instead of the outside with his charge and got caught in traffic. Go For The Gold then kicked clear of Esquire and stable companion Oasis and was heading for his first victory in about two years. But after getting a crack of the whip from rider Joshua Stephen in mid-stretch, he drifted towards the outside rail, apparently blowing his golden opportunity. However the 25/1 shot was not stopping and still almost managed to pull off the upset. According to the photo-finish camera, Go For The Gold finished less than an inch behind Buffalo Soldier, who finished full of running after seeing daylight again in mid-stretch. Esquire, winner of the Caribbean Turf Championship – on the dirt – in January, was only a neck adrift at the end after battling all the way to the wire. His fellow M S Stables-owned Jamaican-bred six-year-old Oasis, the “Turf Championship” runner-up at odds of 40/1, was another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth at the end.
Big Boy Jordan was sent off as the evens favourite, but the American-bred three-year-old backed out of contention at the far turn and finished a very disappointing sixth of the ten runners. Just ahead was Loan Shark, the third-placed finisher in last year’s Easter Guineas. Go For The Gold, who had finished fourth in the Guineas and Midsummer Classic the year before and then went down in the Trinidad Derby by a short-head, has really struggled this season as he had not come close to finishing in the money in his five previous starts. Buffalo Soldier came to these parts after a runner-up finish and two thirds from three outings in the United States and was facing the starter for the first time since New Year’s Day (January 1). The son of Sharp Humor is well respected by connections and has subscriptions paid for the Independence Cup, a Grade I 1,800-metre affair which will be contested over 1,800 metres on the turf on August 31. Owner Merlin Samlalsingh and trainer Mosca had also celebrated about four hours earlier when Director Dream ran away from his fellow West Indian-bred three-year-old maidens in the opening event. After finishing a close-up fourth in the “Midsummer” last time out at the end of May, the 1/5 favourite was not expected to be challenged in the 1,750-metre contest and he was 13 ½ lengths ahead of fellow Jamaican-bred Raise Your Glass at the end.
Fans must have breathed a sigh of relief when Director Dream crossed the finish line, though, as had had thrown his jockey with a lead of over five lengths just before the checkered flag in his second career outing on May 12. Samlalsingh must be dreaming of Derby glory again after he led in the winner of the Blue Riband event in 2003 with triple crown hero Top Of The Class and the following year with Mucho Tempo. Juan Navarro has never won the Derby, but he may feel that this could his year after another commanding performance by Free Passage. After Buffalo Soldier’[s ’s exciting victory, the Jamaican-bred gelding defeated a very good bunch of 70-50 rated horses over a distance of 1,300 metres by 2 ½ lengths to bring down the curtain on the 25th round of the Arima Race Club’s 2012 Season. Free Passage, who returned from a five-month layoff to score in his previous start a month earlier, has now won all three times on the main course to go along with a runner-up finish on the turf in the First Classic. The record of the runner-up and recent form of the third-placed finisher is nothing to sneeze at either. Racing for the first time in 2 ½ months, Candy Man finished runner-up for the third time in a ten-race career, which is highlighted by four wins. And Believe It Or Not finished strongly to secure third position after he had scored three times and finished second on four occasions in his previous seven starts.
Free Passage was attempting further than 1,200 metres for the first time, but he won very comfortably in the hands of Sheldon Rodrigo and his owner feels that the son of Image Maker will “stay all day.” Navarro could go into the Derby with a two-pronged attack as he is also the owner of One Fortheroad. However he must have been disappointed when the fourth-placed finisher in the Guineas was scratched from the sixth event. One Fortheroad was a “main track only” entrant in the event for 60-40 rated horses and was eliminated when the decision was made before the opening event that the three turf events will remain on the lawn. But a downpour after the second event forced the switch of all three (the fourth, fifth and sixth events) to the main course and it was too late for the “main track only” runners to get back in as betting had already been taken for the events. In the absence of One Fortheroad, Grand Slam, a speed horse whose only claim to fame as a stayer was one win in an extended sprint, went on to comfortably take the 1,750-metre contest by three lengths at odds of 15/1.
It was the tenth career triumph for the Stephan Narinesingh-owned seven-year-old, who was bred by former champion trainer and Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority chairman Joe Hadeed. Rodrigo was in the irons, but he had to share riding honours with Ali, who booted home Buffalo Soldier and Super Sonic, a winner of the 1,350-metre contest for locally-bred three-year-old and over $14,000-$9,000 Claimers by a very impressive 14 ½ lengths. Trainer Lester Alexis also ended up with a double as he had saddled Unbridled Way just before when Susan Chee Awai’s five-year-old just caught 12-year-old Naturelly Classy in the 1,300-metre affair for 45 & lower rated horses. But Alexis had to play second fiddle as Mosca was on target with Director Dream, Buffalo Soldier and Free Passage.
Racing will continue at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday when the main attraction will be the Grade II President’s Cup. The field for the 1,900-metre contest could include the likes of two-time Horse of the Year Bruceontheloose, Gold Cup winner Boogie Blues, Arima Race Club Cup hero Montejo, Champagne Stakes winner Rock Movistar as well as rapidly improving American-bred three-year-olds Gabby’s Gold and Ignition Coil.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 July 2012 15:20 )|