Santorini finally delivers in Winston Griffiths OD ClassicFriday, September 10, 2021
BY HURBUN WILLIAMS
Santorini shook off a sizeable defeat by Billy Whizz in the Jamaica Derby (12 furlongs) sitting at a level weight a few weeks ago but, returned with a cushion of some four kilogrammes to do battle once more, this time over the shorter distance of 9 1/2 furlongs (1900 metres), in the Winston “Fanna” Griffiths O D Classic feature, set among native-bred three-year-old campaigners at Caymanas Park on Saturday, September 4.
Returning to do battle with his Derby rider Linton Steadman remaining in the irons, the Soul Warrior - Milestone chestnut colt won the newly introduced event by 1 1/4 lengths as a 9/1 chance from Billy Whizz the even-money favourite under Dick Cardenas who, in the Jamaica Derby, went down by a nose to the winner Calculus. Santorini was fifth.
The winning time posted for the nearly introduced 1900 metres event was 2:02.1 seconds built on fractions of 25.3, 50.1, 1:14.1, 1:40.1 seconds.
Following Billy Whizz back to the line to complete the frame was Secret Identity (Youville Pinnock).
Santorini's victory pleased trainer Anthony Nunes beyond expectation.
“I could not tell you that I was super confident that he will win but based on the handicaps, I felt that he would have run well as the cushion brought him closer to the field. When he ran in the Derby, with these same two horses sitting on 57.0kg and he got a 2 1/2 length beating from Big Jule and some 10 lengths or so from Billy Whizz. But now Santorini was receiving 4.0kg from Billy Whizz and was sitting level with Big Jule, I thought with just a little improvement that it brought him closer to them. “But I will be lying if I told you that I thought that he could win. What was expected though was that he would run a capital race and if he should finish second or third, we will be quite satisfied with that. But I am extremely happy as it turned out, and I will tell you why.
”The owner Balkrishen Sagan-Maraj is an exemplary model of a very good owner. A most understanding person you could not find and he deserves to win a Classic as this is and I am happy for him as he had the patience to persevere with us to allow something such as this to take place.
“When horses are not running up to what you anticipate an owner can get frustrated and disheartened but he stuck to the task and allowed me to give me all the time needed to come to fruition and we are happy that we were able to win this race for him.
”Looking ahead I am not sure whether this win will move him up to Overnight Allowance or that he will continue in his condition stream. What I say though he is a half brother Houdini Magic's who started to get good as a late-developing three-year-old, a very good four-year-old into the five-year-old stage and older where he got better and if this colt was to follow that trend then he could develop into becoming a nice horse,” Nunes concluded.