Race Day Review – Saturday, December 9, 2023
A significant number of the Jamaica Racing Commission cohort of licensed jockeys have been seeking even more opportunities in Canada and the United States.
The list includes former champions Shane Ellis and Anthony Thomas as well as 2019 titlist Christopher Mamdeen who returned to local race riding on December 2. The latter, who has an enthusiastic following, was in double riding form on Saturday’s nine-race card.
In the opening 1200-metre event, Mamdeen’s jockey’s commission of 10 per cent of the winner’s share of the purse was a foregone conclusion.
Just An Illusion (8-5), declared by Errol Waugh, defeated 4-5 favourite Prince Dominik (Omar Walker) by just over nine lengths.
Race two, restricted to maiden two-year-olds, was an 18¾ runaway for trainer Byron Davis’s smart daughter of Soul Warrior, Crypto Girl (1-1). The speedy chestnut filly sprinted the 1000 metres round in a promising 1:00.4.
In the 1100-metre third event it was 5/1 against Hot Stepper (Paul Francis) in Division One for eligible three-year-old fillies with one win only.
Conditioned by former three-time champion Anthony Nunes for the first of a stable double, Hot Stepper was highly favoured to survive a stewards’ inquiry in addition to an objection lodged by champion Dane Dawkins, rider of 3-2 favourite Natural Dancer.
Nunes’ filly scored by two and a half lengths on merit Francis had to give his view on an incident in the last 200 metres where Natural Dancer’s rider claimed interference and intimidation.
The designated 2023 champion trainer Jason DaCosta and 2023 champion jockey Reyan Lewis combination was in the winners’ enclosure following Show Girl’s (6-5) three-length success, justifying favouritism in race four contested over 1300 metres.
Due to technical difficulties there was no display odds prior to the staging of race five run at 1000 metres straight. Trainer Donovan Hutchinson’s Bigman Biden (8-1) was the first of a double for two-kilogramme claimer Ramon Nepare, who was also aboard Tapit Good (9-1) who scored in race six over the similar distance for trainer Paul Hylton.
Mamdeen’s confirmation of his two-timer was confirmed in race seven, the second leg of the divided race three, and came aboard Exotic Light (5-2) for hard-working owner/trainer Gary Griffiths.
Maiden Tokillamockingbird, named for late American best-selling author Ms Harper Lee’s novel, was the strongest finisher in race eight, run at 1100 metres. Ridden by Abigail Able and trained by Marlon Anderson, the bay colt won at odds of 50-1 to beat Ava’s Sunshine (75-1) partnered by Samantha Fletcher, in an unusual coincidence for the two reinswomen.
The day’s main event was another renewal of the 1100-metre War Zone Trophy and the Nunes stable double was confirmed. Legit Boss (7-1), a promising juvenile who failed to train on and missed this season’s Classics, which must have been a poser for the trainer. Smartly ridden by Raddesh Roman, Legit Boss led and repelled challenges to score by a length and a half in a game display.
The Training Feat Award is presented to trainer Marlon Anderson for the performance of Tokillamockingbird, a roguish sort with just one third-place finish in 18 career starts. This three-year-old progeny of Lion Tamer has given trouble with entering the starting gates, been mostly slowly away, and even refused to race on two occasions.
The Best Winning Gallop was executed by Legit Boss in a display of speed and courage guided by Raddesh Roman to give the improving rider the day’s Jockeyship Award.