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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Carlton Watson’s gelding King Arthur flourished in sloppy conditions Saturday to slam the field in an 18-1 upset in the 100th Jamaica Derby at Caymanas Park that lifted top trainer Wayne DaCosta’s tally of Classic winners to 28.

Under first-time Derby-winning jockey Philip Parchment, King Arthur surged past the front-running filly Another Affair at the eighth pole and won the JA$6.5 million (US$45,000) Derby by a half-length over St Leger winner Nipster. Another Affair was a further 1-1/2 lengths back in third and Oneofakind fourth. The 9-5 favourite Wow Wow ended sixth.

King Arthur clocked two minutes 33.20 for the 12-furlong trip on a track made sloppy because of heavy afternoon showers.

“He had won in the mud (before) so after the rain and the track became very sloppy, I gave him an excellent chance,” ex-champion trainer DaCosta said after a seventh Derby victory that reignites his bid to challenge for the trainers’ championship title.

The lone filly in the field Another Affair at 40-1 odds cruised into the lead out of the starting gates under jockey Jerome Innis and was two lengths ahead of the stalking pair of King Arthur and Mahogany (4-1) as the 10-horse field passed the stands for the first time.

Behind the front three, Wow Wow raced in a four-horse group with joint 2-1 second-favorites Nipster and Oneofakind and Money Monster (38-1).

Another Affair, who was runner-up in both Fillies Classics – the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks – in the summer, accelerated down the backstretch to lead by over three lengths at the half-way stage, tracked by Mahogany followed by King Arthur and a quickening Oneofakind. Another Affair’s stablemates Wow Wow and Nipster were fifth and seventh respectively at that stage.

Another Affair kept her clear advantage approaching the final bend and as Mahogany faded, King Arthur and Oneofakind accelerated toward the lead.

King Arthur was the first to pounce on the leader early in the home stretch and while Nipster quickened with a motoring rail run reminiscent of his upset St Leger triumph last month, Another Affair appeared to lose some momentum when the whip flew from her rider’s left hand.

Parchment’s aggressive ride with right-hand whipping roused King Arthur past Another Affair who resisted briefly before fast-closing Nipster applied considerable pressure in the run to the finish.

“I can’t explain (my emotions), I am overjoyed,” Parchment said moments after only his second Classic triumph. He had won aboard Princess Annie in the 2019 Oaks for the same Watson/DaCosta combination.

Parchment, who won the Most Improved Rider award for 2019 at Caymanas Park, was aboard King Arthur for the first time in a race but his familiarity with the gelding on the exercise track served him well in the season’s last Classic.

“I am the one who has been working him in the morning. I kind of understand him. I know what he can and what he cannot do. When I saw how the rain was falling I knew he loves this and he was gonna enjoy this,” Parchment said.

With the win, DaCosta sliced into Anthony Nunes’s trainers’ championship lead which stood at JA$5.3 million (US$36,000) entering the Derby raceday. DaCosta also landed Saturday’s co-feature SVREL Sprint Trophy with England’s Rose to climb to JA$36.31m (US$251,000) in 2020 purse earnings and within striking distance of Nunes’s JA$37.68m (US$261,000).

Superstar mare Enable has been retired from racing, ending a record-breaking career.

The six-year-old won 11 Group One races, including a record three King George VI successes, back-to-back Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe victories and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Enable and Frankie Dettori experienced incredible success, but it was confirmed on Monday a sixth-placed finish in the Arc this month was the last race of her career.

Owners Juddmonte confirmed she will start a breeding career next year.

Juddmonte chief executive Douglas Erskine Crum said: "After consulting her trainer John Gosden and his racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid has decided that Enable will be retired from racing and will now join the Juddmonte broodmare band to be covered by Kingman in 2021."

 

Michael Bernard’s colt Nipster shattered the champion owner’s top horse Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid in delivering a 31-1 upset victory in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger at Caymanas Park.

Ridden from off the pace by Linton Steadman for trainer Gary Subratie, Nipster swept to the front inside the final furlong and won the 10-furlong Classic by a length and a quarter over his stablemate and 1-2 favourite Wow Wow in a fast time of two minutes 06.00.

“It’s a bittersweet moment I must say,” a smiling Bernard said. “I really expected and wanted Wow Wow to win so he could continue on his Triple Crown journey, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” he quickly added after watching his two three-year-olds snatch first and second in the JA$3 million (US$21,000) event.

The 20-1 bet Oneofakind was a further half-length behind in third and the even-money second favourite Mahogany struggled to fourth.

Out of the starting gates in pouring rain, 1000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Another Affair, one of four Subratie entries, shot to the front with Wow Wow, the 99-1 bet Green Gold Rush and King Arthur (8-1) tracking.

Another Affair quickened to lead down the backstretch by seven lengths followed by the 2019 Champion two-year-old Wow Wow and King Arthur racing as a team. Green Gold Rush was fourth and as they hit the six-furlong marker, Mahogany, who had entered the backstretch in 10th spot, gained rapidly toward the lead and moved into fifth spot.

Nipster was still not among the front six at the half-mile as Another Affair’s lead shrunk to just over two lengths with Wow Wow poised to pounce while King Arthur and Mahogany closed in to challenge.

Wow Wow’s rider Robert Halledeen, anxious to keep the 2000 Guineas winner on the Triple Crown path, flew past Another Affair leaving the three-furlong marker with Mahogany on his heels and Wow Wow held command at the top of the homestretch.

Heading to the eighth pole, Wow Wow still led and appeared to be safely repelling Mahogany’s challenge while Oneofakind -- widest of all -- looked threatening and Nipster suddenly appeared with a sprightly rail run.

In a flash, Nipster collared Wow Wow and moved clear with the ecstatic Steadman standing tall in the saddle even before the finish as the colt logged his fifth win in 14 lifetime starts.

“From half mile out I saw he (Nipster) had a whole heap of gas that could last out and become a winner,” Steadman said after his second St Leger triumph.

For Steadman, who had also won the 2016 St Leger with Bigdaddykool, it was his first time aboard Nipster in a race but developed a connection with the Casual Trick-Nippit bred colt after two exercise gallops aboard him.

“The horse is an easy horse to ride, quiet and very easy to deal with. He is cool and kind and (as long as) a horse is cool and kind that’s a whole heap of horse,” Steadman added.

Nipster clocked the fastest St Leger win since War Zone’s race record 2:05.2 in 1996 while foiling Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid.

“We are disappointed (for Wow Wow) but I am happy for the owner because he believed in the horse,” was Subratie’s take on Nipster denying Wow Wow the chance at becoming the third Triple Crown champion in four years – after She’s a Maneater (2017) and Supreme Soul (2019) -- at Caymanas Park. 

Leading jockey Dane Nelson produced an aggressive ride that powered the Fillies Guineas winner and big favourite Above and Beyond to an arduous win over rival Another Affair in Saturday’s Jamaica Oaks at Caymanas Park.

Above and Beyond, the 1-2 favourite, only surged to the front in the final strides of the JA$2.5 Million (US$16,800) Classic and won by a half-length over the 6-1 bet Another Affair while becoming the first horse in 11 years to complete the Fillies Guineas and Oaks double. 

The chestnut filly, by Blue Pepsi Lodge out of Rumble, also logged the fastest Oaks winning time for the 10-furlong trip in almost 30 years, stopping the clock at two minutes 06.80 seconds for champion trainer Anthony Nunes. “What a horse race,” Nunes said moments after securing his fourth Oaks triumph.

“Another Affair ran brilliantly. She bounced out of that gate from early and Dane (Nelson) had no choice but to turn into a 10-furlong sprint. Dane did a fantastic job as he always does,” added Nunes, celebrating his 23rd Classic success.

Beaten 6-1/4 lengths into second spot by Above and Beyond in the Guineas a month ago, Another Affair was sent to lead by jockey Robert Halledeen from post-position one, while Above and Beyond from the nine-box approached the first turn in close touch with the trio of Shepanza (3-1) and the outsiders Adore Brilliance (34-1) and Basilicus (60-1) in a cluster two lengths behind.

Another Affair still led mid-race with Above and Beyond at her girth, with Shepanza 2-1/2 lengths further back struggling to keep pace as Nunes’s 16-1 bet Glock quickened in fourth to chase the leaders.

Another Affair accelerated approaching the three-furlong marker and in a flash threateningly kicked two lengths clear of Above and Beyond as Nelson urged the big filly to close the gap.

Posting solid splits of 24.2, 49.1 and 1:12.3 for six furlongs before breezing the mile split in 1:38.4, Another Affair was still running stoutly into the homestretch and appeared very unwilling to relinquish her lead to the Guineas champion.

Nelson, who won four races on Saturday’s card, had already gone for the whip right-handed coming off the final bend but was only closing mildly and didn’t appear to be closing fast enough either when he changed his hold and switched to left-hand whipping heading into the last furlong.

Another Affair began her surrender deep inside the last furlong as the classy Above and Beyond – under Nelson’s vigorous handling -- incrementally wore her down and became the first filly since Saint Cecelia in 2009 to land both the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks.

The win was Above and Beyond’s fourth in eight career starts for owners Rawdon Persad, Vickram Oditt & Rajendra Poonai and gave the 36-year-old Nelson his second Oaks triumph. Her win was the fastest in the Oaks since Godwin Bucknor’s Poorlittlerichgirl won the 1991 edition in the same time.

Nunes, who landed a triple on the 10-race card, also won the co-feature JA$1.5 Million (US$10,000) Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy race with his four-year-old gelding Toona Ciliata snapping the outstanding three-year-old colt Wow Wow’s 11-race winning streak.

The 2-1 bet Toona Ciliata, ridden by Omar Walker, sped to a dominant five-length victory to be undefeated in three starts this year, posting a smart 1:53.60 for nine furlongs and 25 yards.  Wow Wow, the 1-2 favourite, finished second.

The 1-5 favourite ‘Above and Beyond’ delivered an unchallenged victory in the Jamaica 1000 Guineas on Saturday afternoon as champion trainer Anthony Nunes sustained his dominant run in Classic racing at Caymanas Park.

Confidently ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson, Above and Beyond slammed the 14-horse field by 6-1/2 lengths for Nunes’s 22nd Classic triumph in a fast one minute 38.80 seconds in the JA$2.8 Million (US$19.600) one-mile run for owners Rawdon Persad, Vickram Oditt & Rajendra Poonai.

Trainer Gary Subratie’s 5-2 second favourite ‘Another Affair’ was second and denied Nunes the top-three sweep as his long shots Sencity (26-1) and Glock (41-1) snatched third and fourth positions respectively.

It was Nunes’s fourth Fillies Guineas victory after ‘Latonia’ in 2004, ‘Selectabook’ (2013) and ‘I Am Di One’ last year. Nunes has now won five of the last six Classics at Caymanas Park, including his 2019 Triple Crown run with the colt ‘Supreme Soul’.

Breaking smartly from the 14-box, Above and Beyond raced very relaxed with the pacesetters down the backstretch and looked the winner from mid-race.

The chestnut filly, by ‘Blue Pepsi Lodge’ out of ‘Rumble’, cruised to the lead and when she quickened away from the busy Robert Halledeen aboard the chasing Another Affair leaving the half-mile, the picture of her motionless jockey told the story of race control.

Above and Beyond entered the homestretch with a two-length lead and steadily increased her advantage en route to her third win in seven career starts for groom Steven Smith.

The result also closed an afternoon triple for three-time champion jockey Nelson, who had piloted third race winner Generational and KJ Express to victory in the seventh.

Nelson had two previous Fillies Guineas wins with ‘Al Fouzia’ in 2000 and ‘Nuclear Affair’ in 2016 and engaged Above and Beyond in speedy split-times of 23.3, 45.3 and 1:10.2. The big filly still looked strong at the end under Nelson, who had been aboard for her two previous wins.

“Dane Nelson knows her inside out,” Nunes said about the race strategy.

Coming off her fourth place finish behind 2000 Guineas contender Nipster in her July 5 “prep” event, Nunes revealed he stepped up her training programme for the Classic season opener.

“We made sure to bring her over as fit as we could make her and as happy and as healthy as she could be and she did the rest,” said Nunes, who scored four wins on Saturday’s 11-race card. His other winners were ‘Generational’ in the third race, ‘Supreme Soul’ in the fifth and ‘KJ Express’ in the seventh.

Frankie Dettori was left amazed by Enable after riding to a record third King George triumph at Ascot.

The mare finished five and a half lengths clear of second-placed Sovereign and Japan, the only other runners in the event.

Sovereign took an early lead but Enable, ridden by Dettori and trained by John Gosden, comfortably made up the ground before easing to victory.

Dettori is now setting his sights on further success at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

"I love her so much. Three King Georges, it has never been done before. Now we can go for the Arc," said the 49-year-old.

"I spoke to John at length this morning. I'm not going to break her stride. She is very versatile, and she's won easy.

"She's six – she's no spring chicken. To put up a performance like that is great. She's so consistent and I love her."

Gosden said the six-year-old's performance in winning a third King George since 2017 was no surprise.

"She's trained beautifully for this race and she is back in top order. We are thrilled with her and I was expecting to see that," he said.

Supreme Ventures and Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) announced on Monday that purses for the 1000 and 2000 Guineas will be lower this year but in response, it will add an additional $800,000 to their usual contribution.

The races that will be run on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 respectively, are the first classics of the 2020 racing season and will showcase 3-year-old fillies for the 1000 Guineas and colts and geldings for the 2000 Guineas competing over 1600 metres.

The purse for each classic race stands at JMD $2.8 million with SVREL footing the entire bill.

 “Last year SVREL had fronted $2 million with sponsors providing $1.5 million,” said  SVREL General Manager Lorna Gooden. “However, due to the impact of COVID19, companies were reluctant to come on board as they tighten their belts to handle the financial fallout of the pandemic.”

 

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) will be allowed to recover operational costs racked up by the promotions company during the COVID19-related shutdown, from race purses under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with industry regulators.

I remember the days. Individuals weighing all of 80 pounds yelling “go faster” while holding on to me for dear life.

My feelings were ignored because they figured I was strong. The many piggyback rides I’ve given in my life has made me empathetic to the plight of the racehorse.

Recently, stakeholders of horse racing staged a demonstration at Caymanas Park. The demonstration highlighted the uncertainty they face with no idea of when racing will resume. Racing at Caymanas Park had been called off as part of the Government of Jamaica's efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the island.

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), the company behind all betting on horse racing in Jamaica says it understands the frustrations of the racing fraternity and will reopen Caymanas Park as soon as it’s allowed to do so in a “comprehensive manner”.

I hear the plight of the jockeys who aren't earning and the entire industry that is suffering but the horses might not agree.

Think about it, they go through a lot.

Take British racehorse ‘Humorist’ for example. After winning Britain’s richest horse race in 1921, it was revealed that the horse was suffering from tuberculosis and only had one healthy lung.

Can you imagine training while operating on one good lung? Racehorses have to train. That way their chances of winning races are higher. They have to exercise– sprinting again and again. Horses have to listen to their jockey’s instructions and do as they are told. They are told when to hold back, when to run flat out, when to make their move, and when to give up the ghost. Horses, before COVID-19, had no freedom.

Roughly, 70% of a jockey's training is done on top of a racehorse and though jockeys have strict weight requirements, a horse has to deal with them, heavy equipment, and on occasion, added weight for handicapping purposes.

While the jockey's skill at getting the best out of a horse, reading the race right are unquestionable talents and mean a good jockey can beat a bad one, the real stars of Caymanas Park or any other track are the horses.

Horses are the ones that bets get made on. With more and more off-track betting, as well as a full stadium every weekend, there is increasingly more pressure on horses to do well. Owners and trainers invest time and effort and a great deal of money on horses and expect to be paid back in winnings.

When those winnings don't come, you hear of the ugly side of horse racing. Horses die from substance abuse, clearly not self-inflicted, then there is the practice of 'batterying' a horse. That is where you put an actual battery on the horse and allow raw connections to shock the horse into running harder. Then some horses have to be given Lasix in order to stop them from bleeding through the nose during runs. I'm absolutely sure no horse wants to run until he or she bleeds? Other horses die from respiratory, digestive, multiorgan system disorders and limb injuries. Can you imagine being put to death because you have a limp?

The theory of evolution says that humans are born to die but, how many of us fear death? Similarly, horses were born to run but who says they want to all the time and at the behest of a 100-pound weight on top of it? Racehorses contribute a lot to horse racing making them stakeholders too. The least we can do is consider them.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Potters Corner was the victor in Saturday's Virtual Grand National, with the computer-simulated race organised to raise money after the real event was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bookmakers created the initiative and pledged to donate all profits to NHS Charities Together, supporting the National Health Service during the COVID-19 crisis.

The virtual event was televised in the United Kingdom, with all real races suspended at least until the end of April.

Potters Corner, an 18-1 shot before the race, clinched the victory in the closing stages, with pre-race favourite Tiger Roll previously in charge with a mile left before fading.

Tiger Roll ultimately had to settle for fourth behind Potters Corner, Walk In The Mill and Any Second Now.

The virtual field was made up of runners previously expected to take part at Aintree – the race going ahead thanks to CGI and high-tech algorithms.

Tiger Roll would have been seeking a third straight Grand National success had the real race gone ahead.

Venice “Pappy” Richards is statistically the greatest jockey in Southern Caribbean thoroughbred racing history and the story of his death this week in Trinidad and Tobago is heartbreaking.

Barbadian Richards, after enduring months of fading health and failing eyesight, sadly passed away Monday evening destitute and alone in a room at the Hummingbird Stud Farm Stables near Santa Rosa Park in Arima. He was 76 years old.

How could such an icon, a legend of almost 60 years of tremendous contribution to Caribbean horse racing, suffer such an unbefitting departure from this life?

He was quiet but proud and his self-esteem, it seems, prevented him from advertising how tough things got for him.

But his health and physical struggles became highly visible in recent months and surely more should have been done to assist him.

Close associates over his decades of involvement in the Sport of Kings, including iconic Trinidad and Tobago trainer and owner Joe Hadeed and Barbadian champion jockey and trainer Challenor Jones expressed immense sorrow and surprise over the manner of his passing.

The ravages of diabetes and hypertension had left him thin, frail and partially blind and meeting medical expenses had become even more challenging after his employment contract with the Arima Race Club (ARC) was not renewed in January. He had been hired in an ARC consultancy role in T&T in the past decade after losing his gig with the Barbados Turf Club (BTC) at his native Garrison Savannah racetrack.

Richards scored over 1,400 career wins but in reality that figure could well be over 1600 if you add scores of undocumented victories over several years as visiting rider to Martinique and Guyana. Only Jamaican legend Winston Griffiths (1,664 wins) has as many wins as Richards at English-speaking Caribbean racetracks.

He was never interested in becoming a racehorse trainer as many successful retired jockeys had done. Richards was committed to giving back to the art of race-riding and he tutored aspiring riders at Jockeys’ schools in his native Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

En route to jockeys’ championship titles nine times in Barbados and T&T including 1982 when he was champion in both those countries, Pappy Richards was a multiple winner of all big races in Barbados.

In 1989, he completed the Triple Crown – the Guineas, Midsummer Classic and Derby -- with Bill Marshall’s Coo Bird. Richards scored six Derby wins in his career, four in Barbados and two in T&T. Add to that five Barbados Guineas wins, four victories in the Midsummer Classic and four triumphs in the Cockspur Gold Cup, now called the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.

His first Gold Cup win came in 1986 aboard Bentom before steering Sir David Seale’s Sandford Prince to victories in 1989, 1991 and 1992 when the seven-year-old champion posted a record time of one minute 49.20 seconds for the rich nine-furlong event.

Richards also won 85 races in a stint in the United States in the early 1970s making appearances at New England’s Rockingham Park and Suffolk Downs also Lincoln Downs and Finger Lakes.

The Caribbean’s all-time most successful jockey, Patrick Husbands, with 3,370 North American wins and a bundle of accolades in Canadian racing, cites staying close to Pappy Richards, learning from him throughout his growing years, played a big part in making him who he is today.

Husbands admits he “looked up to Venice” when he was developing as a rider.

“Up to this day I still think he is the best rider in the Caribbean,” says Husbands, a record eight-time winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s most outstanding jockey and seven-time champion rider at Woodbine. Richards’s great rival Chally Jones described him as a “fine gentlemen, dedicated” and being the “epitome” of what a jockey represents.

At approximately 5’ 4” tall, Richards maintained a consistent riding weight of between 110 and 112 pounds throughout his career, a demonstration of commitment and discipline.

For his sweeping successes and service to sport, Richards earned from the Barbados Government a National Award in 1991, the Silver Crown of Merit (SCM). He was also inducted into Barbados Racing Hall of Fame and also the racing Hall of Fame for Trinidad and Tobago.

T&T’s ARC has a Benevolent Fund in place to cover racing men falling on hard times, somehow Richards did not appear to have been a beneficiary of this scheme.

The despair over his sad passing extends even to the funeral plans since closure of the T&T Ports due to the COVID-19 pandemic will bar family, friends and well-wishers attending from his native Barbados.

Today marks 25 years since Major League Baseball stars called off their strike, which had resulted in the previous year's World Series being scrapped.

It is also 38 years to the day since the New York Mets were left stunned by the death of one of the biggest names in baseball.

History was made on this day in England at Aintree in 1977, while India's cricketers and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney were both celebrating nine years ago.

Let's take a look back at April 2 in sporting history.

1972 - Baseball in shock as Mets manager Hodges dies

Gil Hodges had been a superstar with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers, and rounded off his playing career with the just-founded New York Mets. An eight-time All-Star, as a coach he added to the two World Series with the Dodgers, Hodges famously reviving the Mets and leading them to a shock 1969 title triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. But Hodges died on April 2, 1972, at the age of just 47, when he suffered a heart attack following a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was his second heart attack: a first came in Atlanta in September 1968, early in his career as manager of the Mets.

1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National

Tommy Stack rode Red Rum to Aintree glory, as the Ireland-bred steeplechaser followed up 1973 and 1974 triumphs at the Liverpool course with an unprecedented third Grand National victory. The feat has never been matched, with Red Rum triumphing against the odds after second-placed finishes in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 12, Red Rum's third success went down as one of racing's most famous wins.

1995 - Baseball stars go back to work

From August 12 1994 until April 2 1995, there was no top-tier baseball in the United States, with MLB stars going on strike in a labour dispute that stemmed from salary-cap proposals that got players riled. The 1994-95 season was abandoned in September, and the strike lasted for 232 days until judge Sonia Sotomayor's injunction against team owners persuaded the players to go back to work.

2011 - India triumph, Rooney treble

India landed Cricket World Cup glory in front of their home fans in Mumbai when the hosts landed a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final. Mahela Jayawardene made a century in Sri Lanka's 274-6 before India reached their target with 10 balls to spare, helped by 97 from Gautam Gambhir and 91 not out from MS Dhoni.

In London, on the same day, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to defeat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park in the Premier League, an important result as Alex Ferguson's team went on to win the title weeks later.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.