DON Wehby Jr, owner of Atomica, said that while it was his dream to win the prestigious Jamaica Derby, the win is dedicated to his late father Don Wehby Sr who died on Tuesday (August 2, 2022) at age 87, 10 days shy of his 88th birthday on August 12.
"I am so happy. When I met with the trainer (Gary Subratie) and we were discussing the Oaks versus the Derby and the discussion was about what is the second prize of the Derby versus winning the Oaks, that wasn't on my mind. I am in this (racing) for the happiness and the prestige.
"My dream was to win the Jamaica Derby and, this one was extra special to me because my dad, the founder of Oakridge Farms, passed away on Tuesday and I dedicated this win to him. I know he was watching and I won't be surprised if he was helping Dane Dawkins ride her," Wehby Jr said.
"There were all sorts of theories out there. I said to Dane, just be careful, I have all the confidence in you, you ride your race.
"I am a loyalist and Dane has been very loyal to me, plus he is a great jockey, and he rode a great race, and I am happy that I had stuck with him — I couldn't have asked for a better ride," said Wehby Jr.
He also credited trainer Subratie.
"Gary has been training for me from 2004. My first horse that he had trained was Rio Infinito and we came second in the Guineas. He is a horse man. He is a brilliant trainer.
"I noticed Atomica's work programme increased a bit after she lost the St Leger, then on Sunday [July 31, 2022] when I saw the 1:25.3 and I went on the computer and it said 'ridden', I called Dane and he said 'no, I was very comfortable. I think I used the whip once.' That is when I really knew that we were going to be hard to beat. This is my hobby, this is my love, and again I want to dedicate this victory to my dad," Wehby Jr said.
— Ruddy Allen