Punters felt the storm
AS if Hurricane Sandy wasn't enough, dedicated punters were devastated by an avalanche of outsiders which left them in a tizzy and wrecked any semblance of order and stability.
It all started in the second race in a somewhat subdued manner, which can be equated to the calm before the storm. Abram Star, with Orlando Foster, won handily for trainer Tyrone Prince at the acceptable odds of 5-1. These are odds which punters accept and regularly work with raceday after raceday.
Not even the efficient Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) could have anticipated, much less prepare for the destruction that was to come for bettors in the races to follow.
The fourth race, a claiming event over 1,500 metres, saw the Anthony Nunes' Jagsover producing a storming stretch run under the astute guidance of Shane Ellis to pip YesWeWill by a neck.
Ellis moved Jagsover from last entering the straight to a stirring win at the delicious odds of 26-1 for a win dividend of $1,116.00.
The eye of the hurricane then came over the Park as Dick Cardenas piloted the Nicholas Edwards-trained Gold Top to a relatively easy win at odds of 6-1. Some sort of betting orthodoxy was, therefore, restored.
This orthodoxy was severely tested in the seventh and eighth races as Sir Dane, with old-timer Vassell Najair, and Richiesonjamarley, obliged at respective odds of 9-1 and 5-1. The eye of the storm had passed, but the signs were changing as the back-end appeared ominous.
Then came the ninth, named in honour of one of the best thoroughbreds to grace racing at Caymanas Park, Royal Dad. The 1,820-metre event took a dramatic gender change from male to female as 'The Dad' was overtaken somehow by a lady, to be more precise, Miss Boss Lady.
Miss Boss Lady, displaying the strength of a woman and responding like a horse possessed, found a way through a crowded front pack to win by just over one length from There Goes Justin and Dream Point.
The winner went off at odds of 17-1, which must have been very pleasing for trainer Fitzgerald Richards and jockey Omar Walker.
The final race, the so-called 'Dig Out', provided the coup d'grace — that final blow that leaves the vulnerable devastated and left to wonder why bother reading from and sifting through exercise reports.
Rising Raj, trained by Wayne Parchment for his mom, Margaret, sprinted from the 16 draw and was in front from the start and was never headed. The price of 99-1 for a win dividend of $4,800 was truly the icing on the cake for a cruel day at the track for punters. The fact that new apprentice O'Brien White was riding his first winner was a considerable afterthought.
Days like these help to cement the power of racing and the uncertainties associated with the sport, or as some would have it, the business.