EL Poderoso will face five veritable rivals for a fifth consecutive victory while broaching Open Allowance company for the second time on the trot at Caymanas Park today.
In the absence of a sponsored race on the programme, the $786,500 event (three-year-olds and upward) going 1,500 metres, is the highlight of the nine-race card that is scheduled for a 4:25 pm post with first post at 12:30 pm.
The four-year-old son of Even The Score, owned by WP Valentine Chung & Clovis Metcalfe & Robert F Chung and trained by Philip Feanny, captured his Open Allowance debut win last December 5 while completing 1,200 metres in a sizzling 1:11.1 on a fairly fast track.
For his impressive showing, El Poderoso has been hiked considerably in the handicaps by all of 6.5kg following his comprehensive victory on last with a mere 50.0kg. Eminent reins-man Winston Griffiths, who had the leg up on two of the colt's last four wins, has returned to the saddle to replace lightweight jockey Dick Cardenas.
During his mercurial runs in December none of his opponents came even close to those he will face today. And with the distance increased, along with the quality of rivals he will face, El Poderoso will be confronted by his sternest test to date.
While the distance should not be a problem for El Poderoso, being by Even The Score out of Color Her (Gone War) bred by McDonald Farm in the USA, the weight factor could prove burdensome in the closing stages should they all run up to their full potential.
But hailing from the barn of the well respected 14-time champion trainer, El Poderoso will be expected to be presented in his best racing shape for the occasion in an effort to overcome rivals in the final rush for the wire.
Sweet Trail is also just returning to action following a very good win going 1,600 metres, also in December, and could prove to be the most potent danger to an El Poderoso victory.
Owned by Arscott Farms and trained by Patrick Chang, the promise that was shown by Sweet Trail from yearling through her three-year-old stages really began to blossom as a four-year-old and the chestnut mare now five could continue into full bloom, especially with the lively pace that is anticipated to develop among rivals after setting down for the stretch drive. Cardenas, who has won aboard her the most, will again ride.
Recent winners, the pair of Classy Prospect and Double The Honey, will also impact positively on the outcome, but the race looks made to order for El Poderoso with Sweet Trail and Double The Honey, the senior Open Allowance campaigner in the small field, ridden by champion jockey Dane Nelson, running well enough to occupy the other spots.
Ones To Watch
Race 1 Lady Celtic (Dane Nelson)
Race 2 Rum Punch (Dane Nelson)
Race 3 My Friend Lucy (Dick Cardenas)
Race 4 Madiba (Richard Mairs)
Race 5 Marine Drive (Dick Cardenas)
Race 6 Inspiration (Jemar Jackson)
Race 7 Gold Rush (Prince Holder)
Race 8 El Poderoso (Winston Griffiths)
Race 9 Di Cobre (Omar Walker)