KINGSTON, Jamaica - THE feature event on Emancipation Day’s eight-race card was another renewal of the 1,100-metre Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commission Trophy. Headed by Chairman Clovis Metcalfe, it was a pleasure to see such a good representation of staff members at the races. Outstanding thoroughbred Mahogany (1-5), bred by Metcalfe and conditioned by Ian Parsard, as expected, ran out an easy winner to be the second successful mount for Cardenas on the race card.
The 1100-metre opening event went to favourite Last Bid (1-5) in easy fashion. From third position at the top of the home straight he sprinted past rivals to score by five lengths, thus giving hard-working conditioner Gary Griffiths his tenth success from 90 starts this season. Last Bid, who made the frame in four races prior, was ridden by Reyan Lewis for a sixteenth winner from his 103 opportunities.
Leading trainer Jason DaCosta saddled the first of two winners on the day, with 2019 champion reinsman Christopher Mamdeen riding at his best. Winner Sir John (4-1) did not have the best of starts but Mamdeen had him mending so quickly he was the front-runner leaving the 1400-metre mark. Hard-pressed inside the final 200 of the 1600 metres, Sir John lasted home by a head from chief threat Unruly Boss (4-1) ridden by champion Anthony Thomas.
The jockey/trainer collaboration of Shane Ellis/Carl Anderson was at it again with Empeorofthecats (5-2), a Classic aspirant-turned-sprinter, winning the third event run over the 1000 metres of the straight course. This was their fifth success over the last seven race meetings.
For the fourth event over 600 metres, nine juveniles reported for the opening event of the 2022 two-year-old campaign. The clock-watching railbirds were correct in their evaluation of the preparation gallops, deeming the fillies were more forward than the colts. Odds-on favourite, nice chestnut filly Thalita — eventually third — was a step slow to begin, leaving the Anthony Nunes-schooled pair of fillies Legit Boss (3-1) and Volatility (5-1) to dominate affairs. The former came home a length and half clear of the latter at the line. Legit Boss was the first of two winners for former champion jockey Dick Cardenas.
Jockey-turned-trainer Tensang Chung saddled his fourth winner from 43 starts this season. Champion Thomas got the five-year-old bay mare Ultimatum (utero), in her 27th career appearance, to make all the running at odds of 2-1 to score in the 1000-metre-straight fifth event.
Run over the similar distance, race six was won by Stanislaus (2-1), ridden by Romario Spencer for trainer Dennis Thwaites. The eight-year-old gelding won on August 21 last year and only had five appearances between victory then, and today’s success.
For the closure, the Jason DaCosta double, Phillip Parchment aboard Baton Rouge (3-1), dominated the early fractions and turned for home clear, with the in-form rider having the luxury of taking several glances behind to see if anyone among the chasing pack was a possible threat. Baton Rouge coasted over the 1300 metres in a respectable 1:20.4 and should be a productive $750,000 claim by trainer Joseph Thomas on behalf of new owners A & E Syndicate.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Jason DaCosta for the return to form of Sir John who, after winning on June 4 this year, finished behind by a combined total of 55¼ lengths in his next two appearances but was back to his preferred front-running style to produce the Best Winning Gallop. Mamdeen, for the exquisite quality of his handling of his mount, receives the Jockeyship Award.