Horse Racing

Another DQ for trainer Junior Small

...but young conditioner rebounds to land second career victory with Markofaprince

BY WES MARTIN
Observer racing writer

Tuesday, February 06, 2018



The racing gods have not been very kind to newly graduated trainer Junior Small, but obvious disappointments have not daunted the young man.

First of all, Cup O Tea, ridden by Kerry Gayl Robinson, was disqualified by the race day stewards on January 1 and the race was awarded to Flying Machine. If the original result had stayed, it would have been the first ever win by trainer Small. It was a truly depressing moment for someone who had just started his professional career as a conditioner of thoroughbred racehorses.

The young trainer then picked up the pieces of his disqualification hurt and rebounded strongly by bringing Cup O Tea back to the track on January 17. This time all went according to plan for Small, as Cup O Tea, this time with Odeen Edwards aboard, was able to get the better of Zackontheattack (Bebeto Harvey) and Meet Justin. Cup O Tea won by three parts of a length in what was a close finish for the major places.

It was a day to remember for Small as he was engulfed in the winners' enclosure by family members and friends as he celebrated his first winner. Noticeable too was the affection shown to Small by fellow trainers who were part of his graduating cohort.

Then came last Saturday (February 3, 2018) and yet again another heartbreaking day for trainer Small. It was the day's seventh race, a maiden condition event for three-year-old fillies. Going off at fairly long odds of 11-1, Virtuoso, a grey filly by Rising Moon - Soul of the Heart owned by O'Shaun Connection, came from off the pace with Edwards again riding for Small, to assume the lead going into the final furlong of the six-furlong (1,200m) distance of the race. Virtuoso and Edwards had to then fight off the late surge of She's A Banker with Javaniel Patterson up. The winning margin was half-a-length and the time 1:15.0.

The dreaded stewards' inquiry sign was posted almost immediately after the race. It did not take the stewards too long to make their decision, as Virtuoso was disqualified for intimidation and causing interference to She's A Banker.

Another first past the past for Small, another disqualification for Small.

Then came the final race of the day, a 250,000 - $210,000 claiming event, again over six furlongs.

This time there were no mistakes, as Edwards guided Markofaprince to a three-length victory.

For Small it was redemption time.

“That is how it goes sometimes, you win some and you lose some. That's racing for you, and once you are in the game you just have to live with it and accept it,” said Small with some relief.

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