Horse Racing

A galactic burst of speed

Mr Universe produces record-equalling Stakes run to win main trophy race

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Running as if his life depended on it, the Wayne DaCosta-trained Mr Universe turned the annual running of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame Stakes Trophy into a possession, romping home by an ever-increasing 11 lengths in the six-furlong (1,200m) feature event at Caymanas Park yesterday. The 11-race card on the day was sponsored by the regulatory arm of horse racing, the Jamaica Racing Commission.

Ridden by Gary Richards, the four-year-old chestnut colt moved away decisively in deep stretch where he was only racing against the clock…and when the arms of the clock stopped, Mr Universe was timed in a Stakes-equalling record run of 1:11.1 for the Open Allowance event. The Stakes record was solely held by the American importee RonRon, which he ran in 2010. The track record of 1:09.2 has been owned by the mighty Eros for the past 25 years.

Breaking from the number three draw, Mr Universe was sent through to take the early lead from the start of the event by a confident-looking Richards.

With every stride the Region Of MeritRaging Fury offspring extended his lead over rivals, and from the half mile (800m) marker it was clear that he would come home with the Hall of Fame Trophy, which was being competed for on the 23rd occasion by his connections. Even at this stage of the race (at the half mile), the only question left to be answered was how far Mr Universe would win by.

Coming into the lane using his hands and knees, Richards then urged his mount just a bit more, and the Carlton Watson-owned Mr Universe responded quickly by skittering away for his 10 rivals to record his third win for the season from five starts.

Wong Don (Anthony Thomas), running at the Open Allowance level for the first time, came on well to earn second money, with Campesino (Ian Spence) coming off a long rest getting third. Another Bullet (Robert Halledeen) finished fourth.

It was the second winner on the card for both DaCosta and Watson as the team won the previous race with Madam Secretary who, under Omar Walker, lost her maiden tag going over five and and half furlongs (1,100m) in section two of the Leslie McRae Memorial Trophy. Section one was won by Hercomestheboss, ridden by Dane Dawkins for trainer Fitzgerald Richards.

Also with two winners on the day was apprentice Oneil Beckford. He won aboard Dusseldorf in the first race and Bullet Raj in the fourth race, taking home Drumbeat Trophy. Bullet Raj provided new conditioner Ian Roberts with his first winner.

Racing continues next Saturday with the 93rd running of the Boom Jamaica Derby, run over 12 furlongs (2,400 metres) for the Sir John Mordecai Trophy. It was announced at the track during yesterday's programme that 20 horses were still in the race to compete in the Derby at the penultimate stage of the nomination process. On Wednesday next, final entries will be taken for the race.

In addition to the Boom Jamaica Derby, racing fans are in for another treat with the running of The Viceroy Trophy (nine furlongs — 1800 metres), where the three top horses in racing, She's A Maneater, Will In Charge and Bigdaddykool — are entered at the preliminary stage to compete.

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