Top 16 2016 Racing moments

Thursday, December 29, 2016

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There were many outstanding moments on the racetrack during the 2016 season. Moments which have left indelible imprints on the sport of horse racing in Jamaica. There were also events off the track which have had a profound effect on the sport.


The team from the Complete Racing Guide has compiled the 16 top most outstanding moments in horse racing, on and off the track in 2016. The list below is placed in order of preference.



1 - SEEKING MY DREAM MAKES IT A PERFECT TWO-FROM-TWO IN DIAMOND MILE


Without a doubt, the victory by Seeking My Dream in the second staging of the $13.9-million Diamond Mile on December 10 was something out of the top drawer, the very top, and is chosen as the top achievement for 2016. Despite his credentials, there were doubts coming into the race, as many wrote off the chances of Seeking My Dream after his dismal performance in the Gold Cup and a below-par effort in the Superstakes, but the chestnut colt by Seeking The GloryAlsafra by Legal Process turned up when it mattered most by producing a breathtaking performance to beat Grade One rivals by five lengths.
Seeking My Dream not only mined diamonds twice, he firmly confirmed himself as the best horse currently in Jamaica. Racing fans at the park, and those who watched across the country on television or listened on the radio, were simply stunned as Seeking My Dream once again created history, as he not only lifted himself but also the sport to a higher level. Four-time champion jockey Omar Walker was the pilot for now 16-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, who must be commended for his work as the conditioner. Naturally, owner and politician Derrick Smith was in seventh heaven with the win. Seeking My Dream should be a shoo-in for horse-of-the-year honours with five Grade One wins from seven starts in 2016.


2 - WAYNE DACOSTA BECOMES THE WINNINGEST TRAINER EVER


On April 24, trainer Wayne DaCosta, the now 16-time champion, became the winningest trainer in the history of thoroughbred racing at Caymanas Park. After equalling Philip Feanny’s record of 1950 winners the previous race day, DaCosta achieved his historic feat when Super Cop won the eighth race. "A never to be forgotten personal moment and one which I shall always cherish," DaCosta said after his groundbreaking win.


3 - DANE NELSON RIDES HIS 900th WINNER


Three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson became the seventh rider to win 900 or more races in the 57-year history of Caymanas Park on February 16. Nelson reached his milestone when he guided the Richard Azan-trained Jamai Raja to a four-and-a-half length victory in the fifth race over a mile. "This is a very great accomplishment to ride 900 winners; it is a historic landmark for me as well," Nelson said after his feat. Only Winston Griffiths, Trevor Simpson, Charles Hussey, Andrew Ramgeet, Emilio Rodriquez and Shane Ellis have won more races than Nelson at Caymanas Park. Nelson ended last season with over 920 local winners and over 100 winners on the international circuit.


4 – CAYMANAS PARK DIVESTMENT


The long awaited and much needed divestment of the Caymanas Track Limited moved a significant notch forward in 2016 with the announcement by the Government that Supreme Ventures Limited is the preferred bidder to become the sole promoters of horse racing in Jamaica. There was an apparent snag with the final handover at year’s end as a proposed signing ceremony involving Minister of Finance Audley Shaw and SVL was postponed. The racing fraternity now greatly anticipates that this matter will be concluded as early as possible.


5 – THE DIAMOND MILE RACEDAY


It was another successful staging of the Diamond Mile race day by the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) along with title sponsor Supreme Ventures Limited. The best horses in the land were locked in competitive battle in the 14 races on offer. All purses on the day offered a minimum of $1 million. Well done to BGLC Chairman Clovis Metcalfe and his team.


6- 2016, THE YEAR OF BIG RACE DISQUALIFICATIONS


The racing year 2016 can truly be described as the year of big race disqualifications, as two of the major races, the Derby and the Superstakes, were decided by the stewards. In the Derby, third-placed Orpheus was declared the winner after Future King, who was the first to get home, and second-placed Bigdaddykool were both uprooted from their positions. This was the first time in the racing history of Caymanas Park that a Derby winner was disqualified for causing interference. In the Superstakes, the winner on the day, Franfield, was disqualified in favour of Bigdaddykool.



7 – THE RISE OF APPRENTICE BEBETO HARVEY


The 2016 racing year was a defining one for apprentice Bebeto Harvey. After playing second fiddle to Linton Steadman in the early part of their racing careers, Harvey suddenly started to bloom with winners aplenty. By the end of the season he was seriously challenging four-time champion Omar Walker in what was his first full year in the saddle. The challenge to Walker was a testament to Harvey’s ability and courage. With one race day to go, Harvey was five behind Walker, riding 63 winners.


8 – THE RISE OF TRAINER STEVEN TODD


It was a breakthrough year for young trainer Steven Todd. Todd, by astute claiming and placement of horses under his care, delivered winner after winner. Todd also helped to revatilise the career of jockey Jemar Jackson, who was seriously languishing into the realm of the unknown. With one race day to go, Todd has visited the winners’ enclosure 31 times, a massive accomplishment.


9 – CHAMPION OWNER STEPHAN NARINESINGH


Trinidadian Stephan Narinesingh fulfilled one of his greatest ambitions by becoming champion owner here in Jamaica. Narinesingh, who has set his stall with trainer Anthony Nunes, easily won the title and is to be congratulated for his massive investment in the thoroughbred stock of Jamaica.


10 - BIGDADDYKOOL’S ST LEGER WIN



Bigdaddykool, under Linton Steadman, dismantled his eight rivals by a commanding 14 lengths to win the 90th running of the $3.5-million ISP Financial Services Limited-sponsored Jamaica St Leger, and by winning the 2,000-metre event in such fashion, the big bay gelding Sorrentino - Beware Baby established himself as one of the top native-bred three-year-olds this season, especially for his consistency throughout the Classic campaign. Bigdaddykool finished fourth in the 2,000 Guineas (1600 metres), won the Lotto Classic for the Governor’s Cup (2,000 metres), finished second in the Cal’s Jamaica Derby (2,400 metres), and then returned to demonstrate his class to take the season’s final Classic race in emphatic fashion.


11 - BUZZ NIGHTMARE’S GOLD CUP VICTORY


The 2016 Gold Cup, which was sponsored by Alex’s Imports Limited, is the top handicap race during the local season and the Philip Feanny-trained Buzz Nightmare, utilising the benefits of handicaps, ran a great race to win the 1,400-metre event. In the Gold Cup Buzz Nightmare beat the best of the locals and foreigners to establish himself firmly in the top rank of racing’s class structure. Buzz Nightmare was always touted as a talented racehorse, and he justified that claim as he brought back all the attractiveness and allure to the event. The final time of 1:23.4 minutes was a true reflection of this class at a distance that many considered a bit too long for him. The Gold Cup win was a testimony of his talent.


12 – CAL’S PRE-DERBY DAY PROMOTIONS


Carlton Watson and his team from Cals’ Manufacturing must be applauded for their efforts in promoting and sponsoring the Jamaica Derby in 2016. Noticeably, the publicity for Derby Day in June started long before, thereby engendering great interest in the major Classic race of the racing season. The commanding presence of the Cal’s team, engaging live and direct with patrons, and the presence of their many products were quite significant on the actual race day. The Cal’s pre Derby Day breakfast hosted on the Friday before the Derby was a smashing success.


13 – THE FINISH OF THE OAKS


What a race the 2016 edition of the Jamaica Oaks turned out to be. After winning the 1,000 Guineas by a country mile, Nuclear Affair with Aaron Chatrie aboard looked all over a winner in the Oaks, but a late race surge by A Thousand Stars (Robert Halledeen) ended with a short head victory by the latter. Two females engaged in all-out battle was something to behold.


14 – SOTOMAYOR’S JAMAICA TWO-YEAR-OLD STAKES WIN



She A Maneater was the prohibitive favourite for the 105th running of the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes on Boxing Day. Yet the connections of Sotomayor, were not afraid. Sotomayor under astute guidance from Linton Steadman, came storming home in the final furlong to earn his biggest win to date, proving once again that there is no certainty in horse racing. Top two-year-old — 2016.


15 – TRAINER IAN PARSARD HONOURS FATHER, HARRY WITH THREE-TIMER


After paying his last respects at a service of thanksgiving for the life and influence of his father Harry Parsard on Thursday, September 1, owner, breeder and trainer Ian Parsard had something to smile about when he saddled three winners on Saturday September 3. Ian then honoured his father by dedicating the victories to his dad. Ian unsaddled in the winner’s enclosure last year’s St Leger winner Superluminal in the third race over 1,400 metres, first-time runner Sundance in the fifth race over 1,100 metres, and capped off the well-earned triple with a superb run by Long Running Train in the Nigel B Nunes Memorial.


16 - ‘THE COOK FOOD SPECIAL’


Probably the most catchy phrase in racing today, "The Cook Food Special" has become the trademark of popular owner and breeder Dr Paul Wright. Many punters can be seen hovering around Dr Paul just before races to ensure that they are fully in touch with the "Cook Food Special". Nafessa at 40-1 is a prime example of a worthwhile and engaging Cook Food Special. Kudos Sir Wright, who oftentimes can be seen in purple, not the North Street but the Minnesota variety, while always trying to hot up the spurs.

    

      


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