Jamaican reins men shine in North America
LEXINGTON, Kentucky (CMC) — Jamaican Shaun Bridgmohan brought 6-1 bet Room Service with a daring late run to finish in a dead heat with Rosalind, and clinch a share of the US$500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes at Keeneland here Saturday.
Rosalind, a 4-1 chance ridden by Joel Rosario, led in the stretch with a furlong to run but was caught by the fast-finishing Room Service.
Both horses touched the wire together in a time of 1:43.38 minutes, to come away with the first dead heat in a Grade I race in Keeneland history, and $200,000 apiece.
"Both had their noses down at the wire, trying like hell the whole way. They ran a very good race," Bridgmohan said.
Going a mile and sixteenth on Polytrack, longshots Istanford and Resistivity posted the early fractions, hammering out a brisk 22.96 seconds for the quarter mile and an equally healthy 45.90 for the half-mile.
Bridgmohan survived a bump at the break and tucked in Room Service at the rear of the 13-horse field, before making gradual progress. The pair were ninth after three-quarters of a mile and moved up to be five wide just entering the final turn.
Rosalind moved with Room Service and snatched the lead in the stretch but Bridgmohan got the best out of the three-year-old bay filly in the dying stages.
Meanwhile, another Jamaican jockey Rajiv Maragh captured the US$1 million Grade I Twinspires.com Wood Memorial Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct when he piloted outsider Wicked Strong to victory in the day's main feature.
Going off at odds of 9-1 in trip over a mile and eighth, Maragh carried the three-year-old bay colt to the wire by three-and-half lengths, in a time of one minute, 49.31 seconds.
Hot 8-5 favourite Social Inclusion finished third in a shocking result to miss out on qualification for next month's 140th Kentucky Derby.
"To me, he's the Derby favourite right now. In my book, anyway," said Maragh.
The victory for Wicked Strong was the second of his career, since winning his maiden race last October at Belmont Park.
Maragh broke the bay colt nicely and settled him mid-pack, as Schivarelli and Social Inclusion duelled throughout the half-mile completed in 47.47 seconds.
Jockey Luis Contreras moved Social Inclusion into contention at the mid-way point on the final turn, grabbing the lead heading into the stretch, as Maragh set Wicked Strong down for the drive.
In the stretch, Wicked Strong accelerated well, cruising by Social Inclusion to reach the finish strongly.
Maragh also won race two with five-year-old chestnut gelding Reggie D going six-and-half furlongs.