|Race Day Preview Day 34 Monday 15th September 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
ONETOKEEP ATTEMPTS TO BECOME MILLIONAIRE ON CNG DERBY DAY
There are always so many stories association with any Derby throughout the world, but we have never encountered any one quite like this down here as if ONETOKEEP wins the CNG Trinidad Derby Stakes (GR.IR) on Monday September 24, 2012 at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, he will become a millionaire in the process. Just a handful of horses; SIAN’S GOLD, TOP OF THE CLASS, BRUCEONTHELOOSE, CHIEF COMMANDER, GRAND RIVIERE and CACTUS AMOUR have crossed $1 million in career earnings in the history of local racing however none of them have reached the milestone by winning the most prestigious event on the local calendar. ONETOKEEP, to be ridden by Brian Harding right after he celebrated 1,000 winners during the previous race day, needs $258,600 to get to seven figures and the Derby winners’ cheque is $300,000. The Mary Camacho homebred, a son of Big Country, has been the favourite in the two other legs of the local Triple Crown, namely the Easter Guineas (GR.IR) and Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) and it would be a big surprise if he is not the leading choice once again in the betting. ONETOKEEP’S quest to become a millionaire received a significant boost with the addition of the Trinidad and Tobago Breeders Classic (GR.I T & T) to the local calendar this season.
The 1,800-metre race, sponsored by the Betting Levy Board, offers the same prize-money as the Derby (GR.IR) and Gold Cup (GR.I) and ONETOKEEP picked up $300,000 by coasting home on Emancipation Day (August 1). This came two months after he had also been triumphant over 1,900 metres in the Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) on Indian Arrival Day (May 30) and collected $270,000 for his efforts. If ONETOKEEP wins the Derby (GR.IR), he will not only complete a hat-trick of victories, he will also become only the second horse in the history of local racing to earn over $1 million in a single season. BRUCEONTHELOOSE, who will be in action two races earlier on the card, became the first three years ago and is the only member of the $2 million club. ONETOKEEP, whose only defeat this season came when he finished third in the Guineas (GR.IR) on Easter Monday (April 9), is still improving and his best performance came last time out when he won the T & T Breeders Classic (GR.I T &T) by almost five lengths. Speaking of improvement, the biggest danger to John O’Brien’s charge could be FREE PASSAGE, who has never lost a race on the main course and is also getting better all the time and although this Jamaican-bred son of Image Maker has never been in a classic race on the surface, he gave DIRECTOR DREAM, who was beaten by only three lengths into fourth in the Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) three kilos and trounced him by over ten lengths last time out on Independence Day (August 31).
That 1,750-metre contest for 70-50 rated horses was FREE PASSAGE’S first outing over two turns and followed victories over 1,100, 1,200 and 1,300 metres. Juan Navarro’s horse made fans sit up and take notice when he prevailed by over five lengths, stopping the clock in an impressive 1:06 2/5 seconds, on his December 10 debut and he also set tongues wagging when a five-month layoff was not enough to prevent him from winning a 1,200-metres contest in June. FREE PASSAGE is not an unbeaten horse, however, as he was unable to catch turf specialist SEA GOLD in the First Classic on the New Year’s Day holiday card on January 2 and was second in the 1,100-metre contest on the lawn. The other main contenders in the field of 13 West Indian-bred three-year-olds are BIG THING and THE BIG SQUEEZE, but they have both been thwarted by ONETOKEEP in the last few months. BIG THING finished ahead of ONETOKEEP when they were second and third in the Guineas (GR.IR) but it has been a different story since as David Mahabir’s son of Settle Up was then second and third as ONETOKEEP went on to win both the Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) and then the T & T Breeders Classic (GR.I T & T).
THE BIG SQUEEZE has not only dominated her fellow fillies this season by winning the Gleneagle Stakes (GR.IIRF) and Oaks Stakes (GR.IRF) and last year’s St Ann’s Stakes (GR.IRF) heroine was also third in the Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) and second in the T & T Breeders Classic (GR.I T & T). None of the runners have been this far before and BIG THING and THE BIG SQUEEZE will have their opportunity to get the last laugh on ONETOKEEP as the 2,000-metre distance should be more to their liking. With ONETOKEEP in the picture, O’Brien doesn’t need back-up, but the Champion Trainer will also be represented by BANDWAGON and PISTONS AND RINGS at 4.45PM. Derick Mosca will also have a three-pronged attack with DIRECTOR DREAM and the Navarro-owned pair of ONEFORTHEROAD and FREE PASSAGE. The field for the Grade I contest also includes NETTOYER, the Santa Rosa Classic (GR.IIR) winner who finished fourth last time out in the T & T Breeders Classic (GR.I T & T), but UNQUESTIONABLE, the Guineas (GR.IR) winner who is owned by Arima Race Club (ARC) president Hugh Lee King, is injured and could be out for the remainder of the season. BRUCEONTHELOOSE, who won the Derby three years ago and has been voted Horse-Of-The-Year for the last three years, spearheads a field of nine top class horses at 3.25PM in the $150,000 High Propulsion Diamond Stakes (GR.II).
The Jamaican-bred six-year-old won this Grade II event in 2010 but did not compete last year when SIGNAL ALERT edged his Glenn Mendez-trained stable-companion READBETWEENTHELINES for the $90,000 winners’ cheque. SIGNAL ALERT and the O’Brein-trained pair of ‘BRUCE’ and IGNITION COIL could be the main contenders, but although he is one of the most talented runners in the field of nine, READBETWEENTHELINES could find it tough in his first race in almost ten months. IGNITION COIL trailed the field last time out when he made his two-turn debut in the President’s Cup (GR.II) two months ago, but the American-bred three-year-old has won four times and finished second to ‘BRUCE’ in the Santa Rosa Dash (GR.II) in his other five starts this season and could bounce back to his best over the 1,350-metre trip. MONTEJO, the Arima Race Club Cup (GR.II) winner who finished second in the Independence Cup (GR.I) three weeks ago, and BOOGIE BLUES would prefer further, while KING WHISTLER and the Harold Chadee-owned and trained American-bred four-year-olds SMART AMERICAN and EL BANDIDO DE ORO are not in this class.
The Republic Day holiday card is being sponsored for the second year in succession by the National Gas Company. There will be ten races during the 34th round of the ARC 2012 Season and HI-5 betting will be available in the fourth (1.27 p.m.), sixth (2.45 p.m.), eighth (4.05 p.m.) and tenth (5.25 p.m.) events. The Pick 3 races will be the three following the opening event and the Pick 4 betting events are the final four. The Pick 6 will be the last six races, beginning at 2.05PM in the fifth, the 1,350-metre Gas Switch for 40 & lower rated horses.
Post time is 11.30AM.