|Race Day Preview Day 27 Wednesday 1st August 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
ELEVEN SET TO FACE THE STARTER IN INAUGURAL $500,000.00 BLB T & T BREEDERS CLASSIC (GR.I T & T)
WE could not have asked for a better introduction to the Trinidad and Tobago Breeders Classic to the local horse racing calendar.
The Betting Levy Board (BLB) came up with the concept last year to stage a classic event for only locally-bred three-year-olds and their idea will become a reality at Santa Rosa Park, Arima on Emancipation Day, Wednesday August 1, 2012.
Right off the bat, the 1,800-metre event will join the list of the richest races on the calendar as the total purse of $500,000 is the same as the amount offered for the Trinidad Derby – which will end the Triple Crown series on Republic Day, September 24 and the Boxing Day Gold Cup on December 26.
The “Classic” has come on board at the perfect time as locally-bred three-year-old have been dominating this season after being forced to play second fiddle to the Jamaican bred horses over the last few years.
Horses from this country occupied the first three positions when the gates opened on the Triple Crown with the Easter Guineas on Easter Monday April 9, and it was a one-two-three for the red, white and black again when the series continued with the Midsummer Classic on Indian Arrival Day May 30.
It was also first and second for T&T when the fillies squared off in the Gleneagle Stakes three weeks ago.
All the horses involved in these feats will return to do battle on Emancipation Day as the field of 11 includes Guineas winner UQUESTIONABLE; ONETOKEEP, who bounced back to win the “Midsummer” after finishing third in the Guineas, BIG THING, runner-up in both races, as well as THE BIG SQUEEZE, winner of the ‘Gleneagle’ after finishing third in the ‘Midsummer’ and ‘Gleneagle’ runner-up CHARMING LASS.
ONETOKEEP, who won the ‘Midsummer’ as the clear favourite despite the fact that he was also the 3/2 favourite when he finished behind two horses in the Guineas, will more than likely be the leading choice in the betting again.
But the Mary Camacho home bred, winner of three of five career outings, will probably be odds-on this time despite the fact that he finished just a length ahead of BIG THING at the end of May.
BIG THING, who looks the biggest threat to ONETOKEEP again, came back three weeks ago and defeated a good field of 70-50 rated horses over 1,750 metres.
What was most significant about this performance was the fact that David Mahabir’s son of Settle Up stopped the clock more than a second and a half faster than the time THE BIG SQUEEZE recorded for winning the Gleneagle Stakes forty minutes later, and THE BIG SQUEEZE had only finished a short-head behind BIG THING in the “Midsummer.”
UNQUESTIONABLE finished a very disappointing ninth of 12 in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown after not being a factor for the entire race, but the horse owned by Arima Race Club (ARC) President Hugh Lee King deserves another chance as he had been in the firing line throughout the Guineas when he repelled every challenge to score by 1¼ lengths.
NETTOYER, bred by former ARC President and current BLB Chairman Kama Maharaj, is another who is capable of bouncing back and capturing the whopping $300,000 winners’ cheque after previously disappointed backers.
The Laurence Berment owned gelding finished out of the money in both Triple Crown races, but he was not that far back on either occasion and he won the Grade II Santa Rosa Classic between the two Grade I events.
Racing for just the third time in her career and the first over two turns, CHARMING LASS ran a gallant race to finish second to THE BIG SQUEEZE in the “Gleneagle” and Cecil Camacho’s chestnut filly must have improved again in the three ensuing weeks.
However at this stage her career, the John O’Brien-trained stable companion of ONETOKEEP may have no more than an each way chance in this company.
The same could probably be the true for A GREAT MOMENT, who finished a decent fourth in the “Gleneagle” despite the fact that the Harold Chadee-owned and trained daughter of A Great Team was racing for the second week in succession.
Chadee will be in the spotlight in the day’s second event as he will be represented by five of eight when the West Indian-bred two-year-olds make their first appearance of the season.
SECRET CIRCLE, RUN RON, ZUN ZUM and Jamaican-breds STAR DREAMER and SHE’S A CUTIE will be in the silks of the prolific owner/trainer in the 800-metre contest at 12.38PM.
Only two other trainers will be represented as former champion Glenn Mendez will send out SAFRA TILAH and THE BIG SHOW and Rohit Dube, the conditioner of BIG THING, saddles SOMETHING BLACK and KISS THE SKY.
The first time the “babes” hit the track is usually a special occasion for the fans and they will be followed by the 100-80 rating group horses at 1.13PM.
SMART AMERICAN, owned and trained by the one and only Chadee, will be attempting his fourth victory of the season and is among seven declared to compete over 1,200 metres.
The field also contains 2009 Stewards Cup (GR.I) winner BLACKSTONE STREET as well as the O’Brien-trained duo of KING WHISTLER and last year’s Caribbean Sprint Championship (GR.IIIR) winner Lawbreaker and the David Ojar-bred, owned and trained SKYLINE PIGEON as well as his stable companion LANG AMOUR.
The first of four HI-5 races will follow and almost $90,000 is already in the pool for the event for West Indian-bred three-year-old maidens after there were no winners of the wager in the final event when racing was last staged at the centralized venue on July 21.
Fifteen have been declared to do battle over 1,100 metres on the turf at 1.52PM.
The second HI-5 is over the same course and distance and 13 have been declared for the 40 & lower rating group contest at 3.08PM.
The final HI-5 event will also take place on the turf, but the 70-50 rated horses in the day’s curtain event will be squaring off over 1,600 metres at 5.42PM. A maximum of 12 horses can compete in a turf race, but as many as 17 are declared here.
There will also be HI-5 betting two races earlier when 13 horses, rated 30 & lower, are expected to line up over 1,300 metres on the main track at 4.24PM.
The Pick 6 will be the last six events on the card, starting in Race 5 at 2.30PM with a 55-35 rating group contest over 1,600 metres on the turf with 12 contestants. The carry-over pool is just over $10,000 after there were no winners on July 21.
The first Pick 3 wager in quite a while will begin in Race 2 and comprises Races 2, 3 and 4 and for the very first time on local racing the ARC will be offering Pick 4 wagering. It begins in Race 7 at 3.45PM which is a 1,200-metre contest with 11 horses, rated 45 & lower and comprises Races 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Post Time for the 1st running of the BLB T & T Breeders Classic (GR.I T & T) is 5.02PM.
Post time for the 27th round of the ARC’s 2012 Season is 12:00NOON.