Triple Crown winner Supreme Soul remains stranded in the United States

By George Davis and Mariah Ramharrack January 29, 2020

Noted trainer Antony ‘Baba’ Nunes has strongly reprimanded the Jamaica Veterinary Services Division for treatment meted out to Triple Crown winner Supreme Soul who remains quarantined in the United States.

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

    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.



  • War Eagle flattens Midsummer field in crushing win at the Garrison War Eagle flattens Midsummer field in crushing win at the Garrison

    The colt War Eagle unleashed one of the most awesome Classic performances in Barbados thoroughbred racing history to win Saturday’s BBD$50,000 (US$25,000) Pinnacle Feeds Midsummer Classic as a 2-1 second favourite.

    Ridden by N’Rico Prescod for champion trainer Victor Cheeseman, War Eagle – part-owned by West Indies batsman Kraigg Brathwaite - shot to the front approaching the final bend and accelerated to a titanic 19-length victory while scuppering the Triple Crown bid of Guineas winner Déjà vu.

    In only his third lifetime start, War Eagle clocked two minutes, eight seconds for the nine-furlong trip on a slow Garrison Savannah turf chased by the 3-2 favourite Déjà vu, with Ollivander (3-1) a distant third.

    “I knew he had the potential (to win) but I was surprised by the big margin of the win even though I was confident,” triumphant rider Prescod told SportsMax.TV.

    Ollivander led out of the gates ahead of the Trinidad & Tobago-bred Edelweiss but quickly gave way to the 11-1 bet Conflictofinterest, who cruised into a clear lead.

    War Eagle, meanwhile, had a troubled start as Prescod’s left foot had slipped out of the stirrups. He was near the back of the 12-horse field in 10th spot but he was able to re-insert and balance himself aboard the chestnut colt just over a furlong into the race.

    Jockey Jarrel Beckles was three lengths in front aboard Conflictofinterest at the halfway stage, tracked by Ollivander and Déjà vu with the smoothly recovering War Eagle a further three lengths back in fourth. 

    Ollivander and Déjà vu flew past Conflictofinterest at the four-furlong marker while War Eagle gained steadily with a rail run.

    Responding to a few left-hand cracks of the whip by the 22-year-old Prescod, War Eagle surged to the front and widened his lead by five lengths at the top of the homestretch.

    Prescod eased his mount and began his celebration from the middle of the homestretch as War Eagle emphatically avenged his narrow loss to Déjà vu in last month’s Guineas.

    “I was a bit far off the pace early and I started to panic a bit but I just kept it together and trusted the horse’s strength,” said Prescod after his second Classic triumph, having landed the 2019 Barbados Derby aboard 21-1 upset winner Nzinga just over 15 months ago.

    Because War Eagle was among the least experienced in the field, trainer Cheeseman anticipated the colt’s improvement coming off his Guineas loss by a neck to Déjà vu three weeks earlier.

    “He ran a bit green that day and we kept him fresh after the Guineas,” Cheeseman said.

    “Remember, he hadn’t run for over a year before the Guineas and we knew he would be a far better horse for the Midsummer,” added Cheeseman, who was winning his third consecutive Midsummer Classic after scoring with Brave Star (2018) and Seventeenmillionus last year.

    Cheeseman, the reigning Barbados champion racehorse trainer for a record seven years in a row, is now confident the K&C Stables-owned War Eagle, by Eagle’s Peak out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Stream Kid, can land the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Barbados Derby on December 26 (Boxing Day). “Oh yes, once he feels good on that day,” Cheeseman said.


  • Wise Guy stays on T&T Triple Crown path with O’Brien’s 1200th career win Wise Guy stays on T&T Triple Crown path with O’Brien’s 1200th career win

    Trinidad and Tobago’s champion racehorse trainer John O’Brien logged his 1200th career win with a Midsummer Classic triumph for Wise Guy at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday that kept the chestnut gelding on the path to the Triple Crown.

    Ridden by the 20-year-old apprentice Kimal Santo, Wise Guy captured the TT$55,000 (US$8,000) National Lotteries Control Board (NCLB) Midsummer Classic by 1-1/4 lengths over his 22-1 stablemate Apache. Wise Guy clocked two minutes 02.31 seconds as the 2-5 favourite for the 9-1/2 furlong run on a sloppy track to complete the second leg of the Triple Crown, having won the Guineas last month.

    After leading early and then stalking the front-running 90-1 bet Spring Valley, Santo challenged for the lead mid-race with Wise Guy while Princess Steffani (40-1) surged forward to tackle the pacesetters.

    Approaching the final bend, Wise Guy and Princess Steffani had a near three-length advantage on the rest of the field but Wise Guy quickly gained control as they entered the homestretch.

    The Jamaica-bred Apache presented a brief threat inside the last furlong but Santo’s right-hand whipping kept Wise Guy safely in front to the finish, becoming the first T&T-bred winner of the Triple Crown “Middle Jewel” since Onetokeep in 2012.

    “He kept going when the horse (Apache) got to his withers which is commendable but he does idle a bit when he is in front for too long,” said O’Brien about Wise Guy’s seeming moment of vulnerability inside the last furlong.

    The 5-2 bet Bella Riva, the 2019 champion two-year-old, was a further 5-1/2 lengths away in third in a top-three Classic sweep for O’Brien achieving the 1200-win milestone he was not even aware of. “I didn’t have any idea at all. I remember the thousand and the 11 hundred but I didn’t realize I had got there,” said O’Brien.

    In a race dominated in the past seven years by Jamaica-bred horses, including 2014 Triple Crown winner Momentum and the Jamaican Anthony Nunes-trained 2016 winner, The Gatsby, Wise Guy scored one of three wins O’Brien had on the afternoon.  The 16-time champion trainer also scored with Lady Bird in the first and News Flash in the second.

    The PT Racing-owned Wise Guy had won the September 24 Guineas by 4-1/2 lengths snapping Bella Riva’s six-race winning streak. The improving gelding now has four wins in six starts this year and will target the November 28 T&T Derby, bidding to become 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.



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