Apprentice Santo claims historic Triple Crown with Derby triumph aboard Wise Guy 

By Lance Whittaker November 28, 2020
Apprentice rider Kimal Santo steering the gelding Wise Guy to Triple Crown glory with Saturday’s T&T Derby win at Santa Rosa Park Apprentice rider Kimal Santo steering the gelding Wise Guy to Triple Crown glory with Saturday’s T&T Derby win at Santa Rosa Park Ralph Banwarie

Young rider Kimal Santo became the first apprentice to win Trinidad and Tobago’s Triple Crown, piloting the favourite Wise Guy to a fighting win Saturday as the gelding logged the first Derby Stakes triumph for a T&T-bred horse in a decade.

PT Racing’s Wise Guy accelerated in deep stretch and repelled challenges from his John O’Brien stablemates Apache and Bella Riva to win the TT$70,000 (US$10,500) Derby by a length and a quarter as the big 2-5 favourite.

“Emotions are running very high right now, I am too excited I can’t even explain how I am feeling,” the 20-year-old Santo told SportsMax.TV after a famous win that gave champion trainer O’Brien his eighth Derby victory and a second Triple Crown success after Momentum in 2014.

Coming off wins in the Guineas in late September and the Midsummer Classic five weeks later, Wise Guy clocked two minutes, 09.66 seconds for the 10-furlong trip. He became Santa Rosa Park’s fourth triple crown winner after the Glenn Mendez pair of Carnival Messiah (2001) and Top of the Class (2003) and O’Brien’s Momentum six years ago.

From the four-box, Santo, in only his second year race-riding, broke Wise Guy smartly and was satisfied to stalk the pacesetters as the 50-1 outsider Nuclear Fire set the early fractions ahead of top filly Bella Riva, the 7-1 third favourite.

The Jamaica-bred Nuclear Fire led by a length and a half down the backstretch tracked by Bella Riva and Wise Guy with American Traveller (50-1), Princess Steffani (35-1) and Apache (4-1) within striking distance.

The field was tightly bunched leaving the half-mile – five lengths separating the first nine horses – with Nuclear Fire about to surrender the lead, rapidly swallowed by 16-time champion O’Brien’s big three.

Coming off the final bend, Bella Riva, the 2019 champion two-year-old who was second to Wise Guy in the Guineas, quickened to lead but the new Triple Crown champion’s challenge was swift and he was at her girth in a flash. Santo swapped left-hand whipping for vigorous right-handed cracks early in the homestretch as Wise Guy struggled initially to shake the filly’s very stout challenge.

Wise Guy’s superiority showed nearing the finish as he moved clear and he already had the 10-furlong run sewn up when his other stablemate Apache closed rapidly to snatch second.

“All the hard work has paid off and I have now gone down in history,” said an ecstatic Santo, who rode three other winners on the afternoon and sported tears of joy as he returned with Wise Guy to the winners’ enclosure.

The victory was Wise Guy’s sixth in eight starts this year and trainer O’Brien’s fourth Derby triumph in the last seven years.

“It was a very proud moment for me, it seems he wanted to give us some heartache as he did not really quicken until late in the race but I am very happy,” said O’Brien after his sweep, identical to the finish of the October 31 Triple Crown second-leg Midsummer Classic.

“They ran the same 1-2-3 (as the Midsummer) so they obviously seem to be a cut above the rest,” O’Brien said.

Wise Guy’s weekend success snapped a nine-year streak of Jamaica-bred horses winning the T&T Derby. By J'ouvert of the Freshly Squeezed mare Maid Of Honour, the chestnut gelding is the first native-bred Trinidad Derby winner since Back on Top in 2010.

 

 

Related items

  • Reggae Boy Brown was allowed to leave Bengaluru FC to seek more playing time Reggae Boy Brown was allowed to leave Bengaluru FC to seek more playing time

    Bengaluru FC coach Naushad Moosa insists the club parted ways with Jamaica international Deshorn Brown in order to allow the player to search for more playing time.

    The 30-year-old forward recently completed a move to top-flight Indian team NorthEast United, away from Bengaluru, who he joined last year on a one-and-a-half-year deal.  Brown scored three goals in 17 appearances and increasingly found first-team football hard to come by.  

    Moosa replaced outgoing coach Carles Cuadrat, as the club looks to begin a rebuilding process, that has seen the former B-team coach step up as head coach.

    "When you talk about Brown, as a club we want to help the player. Now if you see Ajay (Chhetri), he is getting playing opportunities with East Bengal. Brown was not getting enough playing time (at Bengaluru). So, for his development, we should allow him to go and play [elsewhere]. We thought we should help him get more playing time," Moosa said.

    Brown will be looking to regain his goalscoring form with the Highlanders who will be without Kwesi Appiah who is set to miss the rest of the season with an injury.  The Jamaican has previously played for the likes of DC United and Colorado Rapids.  It is hoped will be able to link up with Idrissa Sylla and Luis Machado. 

    Brown has played 14 games for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz since making his debut in 2013.

     

     

     

     

  • 'My age won't stop me' - Fraser-Pryce targets familiar spot atop medal podium for Olympics 'My age won't stop me' - Fraser-Pryce targets familiar spot atop medal podium for Olympics

    Jamaica track and field star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, does not anticipate that age will be a barrier to achieving success when the 2021 Olympics finally rolls around.

     At 34, Fraser-Pryce will be one of the oldest women lined up to face the starter's gun, should the event eventually be staged in Tokyo later this year.  The 32nd Olympiad was initially slated to be staged last summer but was postponed due to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    The postponement of the quadrennial event has meant another year of training and preparation for some legendary athletes facing another race, the one against time.  The situation will not be an entirely new one for nine-time World champion and two-time Olympic champion Fraser-Pryce.  In 2019, at the age of 32, she became the oldest female sprinter to win a 100m world title.  In that event, by comparison, silver medalist, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith was nine years her junior.  Showing herself to be very much at the top of her game in 2020, however, despite the havoc the global pandemic wrought on the international schedule, Fraser-Pryce is clearly in the mood to defy the odds yet again.

    “Yes, I’m 33, but if I can come back from having my son and be able to stand on the podium, my age is not going to stop me.  I’m still going to work hard.  I’m still going to be committed and I’m grateful for the years of experience I’ve had,” Fraser-Pryce told the BBC.

    "I'm probably older than most of the women in the race but so what? I'm just focusing on getting the job done and being happy."

  • Lara was shocked by jeering Jamaica crowd – rates shot-filled Sabina 213 as most memorable innings Lara was shocked by jeering Jamaica crowd – rates shot-filled Sabina 213 as most memorable innings

    Legendary West Indies batsman, Brian Lara, has pointed to a performance that emanated from one of the uglier, darker moments of a largely sparkling career as one of his most memorable.

    In one of a few instances the batting star was not greeted by applause and gestures of widespread adoration on his sojourn to the crease, Lara was booed by the Sabina Park crowd when strode out for the second Test of the 1999 Australia tour of the West Indies.

    During a tumultuous period for the Windies, the issue for some home fans stemmed from what they believed to be disrespect shown to bowling legend Courtney Walsh in what they deemed to be a hostile takeover of the captaincy by the Trinidadian.  Walsh, who was appointed captain in 1994, served as captain for 22 Test matches before being replaced by Lara in 1998.  On the back of a heavy loss to Australia in the first Test and having also previously been whitewashed by South Africa, The Prince found himself occupying the unusual status of public enemy.

    His response, a classy, shot-filed 213, which would go on to underpin a massive 10 wicket win at Sabina Park to level the series, it must be said, went a long way in lightening the mood.

    “Everyone says the 153 was second maybe to Sir Don Bradman’s (Against England at Melbourne in 1936-1937), maybe post-war, one of the better innings, but a week before that I was in Jamaica where we played against Australia in that second Test match,” Lara told 7Cricket.

    “We came off scoring 51 in the fourth innings in Trinidad and I stood there in Jamaica, I was given the captaincy for two Test matches, on probation, never before had that happened in the history of West Indies cricket…that 213 in Jamaica was for me (special) in terms of not just batsmanship but my inner strength to come out of that situation I was in,” he went on.

    “I was facing expulsion as the captain, of course, I was going to be playing, the captaincy was not that important to me that I wouldn’t play, but the threat of the expulsion and the fact that everyone was sort of jeering against me, in the Caribbean, was just unbelievable.”

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.