Two Classic races on the day
Review of race day - Saturday, August 7, 2021Friday, August 13, 2021
BY WES MARTIN
The bold and historic decision to stage two Classic races, the 101st Jamaica Derby and the Jamaica Oaks on the same racecard certainly had the impact of piquing the interest of the pundits in no uncertain terms, but the sales return predicted may not have lived up to the expectations of the promoting company. This speculation is based on anecdotal assessment but the usual Derby Day buzz was understandably absent.
Having saddled Calculus to win the 2021 St Leger, trainer Gary Subratie had every right to be optimistic and confident he could deliver another Derby triumph to owner Chevan Maharaj, who transferred the colt from the barn of champion Anthony Nunes prior to the running of the 2000 Guineas. Nunes had presented Maharaj with the ultimate achievement of ownership when he trained Supreme Soul to win the Triple Crown in 2019. Therefore the decision to engage the services of Subratie could not have been taken lightly.
The fact of matter is that with Calculus thoroughly outstaying his peers in winning the 2000-metre St Leger, legitimate questions had to be raised concerning the ability of the other Classic aspirants to be effective over the 2400-metre Derby distance. As things turned two of these in the form of Billy Whizz, fourth in the Guineas, and Further And Beyond, second in the Leger, proved to be worthy opponents.
Run as the tenth race, a moderate and very conservative pace was set for close to 1400 metres before Dane Nelson aboard Further And Beyond tried to seize the initiative by being the first to come off the bridle in an effort to escape the close pursuit of Calculus, partnered by Shane Ellis looking for his sixth Derby success and the eighth for the Ellis family with dad Winston, a two time champion as well, winning the Premier Classic in 1964 and again in 1967.
Well-fancied Big Jule (Omar Walker) was also challenging albeit unconvincingly for the lead approaching the top of the home straight with Billy Whizz tactically poised but Dick Cardenas, who was the perfect pilot up until that point, elected to chart a wide path instead of saving ground. In spite of this, Billy Whizz got on terms with Further And Beyond 300 metres from the finish. These two battled each other fiercely with Billie Whizz the stronger but Derby success was not in the future destiny of either.
Having been left a bit flat-footed 400 metres out, Ellis switched on the superior stamina of Calculus and found a path between the leading protagonists 100 metres to out-game Billy Whizz by a neck with Further And Beyond a length and a half further in arrears. This was Subratie's first success in the Blue Riband event.
In the 2000-metre Oaks, the seventh on the programme, there was a routine three-length victory for odds-on favourite 1000 Guineas heroine She's A Wonder ridden by Reyan Lewis for second-generation conditioner Ian Parsard. Speaking of second-generation trainers, the opening 1100-metre event was won by Triple Seven (11/1) ridden Jerome Innis for Steven Todd.
Leading owner Carlton Watson was on hand to pose for photos when 1/5 favourite Mr Ambassador, ridden by Dane Nelson, who secured the first of a double, won the 1100-metre second to continue the good strike rate of trainer Johnny Wilmot who notched his 17th success from 53 starts.
Hard-knocking four-year-old colt Laban (Oshane Nugent) made all the running to win the 1200-metre third event for trainer Richard Azan who must cherish fond memories of the Derby days in 1995 and 2010 after having won the Premier Classic with Dorval and Mark My Word, respectively, in those years.
Bred, owned and trained Carl Anderson speedy Another Prosecutor (Youville Pinnock) won the 1100-metre fourth while in the 1600-metre fifth race trainer FitzGerald Richards scored with Ridewiththemob giving Oshane Nugent a riding double.
Trainer Spencer Chung's maiden three-year-old filly Let's Get It On (Dick Cardenas) outsprinted 13 rivals at 4/1 over the 1000-metre straight course in the day's sixth race.
The 1300-metre eighth was won by 9/1 chance Gambler (Dane Dawkins) for Michael Marlowe and Nelson closed his double in riding Rohan Mathie's maiden filly to a four and a half-length victory in the day's ninth.
Jason DaCosta turned out the first three to finish with I Am Fred (Philip Parchment) winning the eleventh and closing 1200-metre nightcap.
This confirmed a day of spectacular success for the second-generation cohort of conditioners with Todd, Parsard, Marlowe, Subratie and DaCosta banking around $12.0 million between them and taking their combined 2021 season's tally to 220 wins out of the 491 races to date while competing with in excess of 100 other practitioners for stake earnings.
The Training Feat is presented to Gary Subratie for double Classic success with Calculus, a horse under his care for less than 180 days. The performance of Calculus checked all the boxes in terms of speed stamina and courage and displayed the Best Winning Gallop but needed special assistance from Shane Ellis who gets the Jockeyship Award for the “classic” horsemanship.