DESPITE the fact that a small field of five runners will contest today's $1.75-million Menudo Trophy feature, the presence of Horse of the Year Atomica fits well in a race to honour one of the best long-distance runners to leave hoofprints in the sand at Caymanas Park.
Menudo, trained during his racing career by Hall of Famer Richard Azan, holds the distinction of winning the prestigious Superstakes (10 furlongs – 2,000m) on four consecutive occasions (1999-2002). Little wonder then that the Menudo Trophy will be contested over 10 furlongs.
Atomica, who is aiming for her fourth-consecutive triumph, has a solid record going two turns so the Menudo Trophy isn't a concern. On July 2, 2022 the four-year-old chestnut filly finished second in the Jamaica St Leger (10 furlongs); on August 6, 2022 she won the Jamaica Derby (12 furlongs – 2,400m); on November 12, 2023 she won the Jamaica Cup (nine and a half furlongs – 1,900m); and on August 7, this year, she won over nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m).
Atomica is the lone speed in the line-up, although providing weight all around at 57.0kgs (126 lb), and given the way she goes, the Nuclear Wayne - Honkeytonkville progeny should easily put them away.
She has been training hard in preparation for this race, and with no actual talent in the field expect Atomica to take another stroll in the park.
The big question in this race is whether Atomica will keep things calm and cool or try for the track record. Based on Atomica's exploits this season, and having previously established the record at nine and a half furlongs at 1:57.3, the track record of 2:02.3 set by Warfare on November 10, 1984 should be well within reach.
However, there are other aspects to consider here. There is none in the competition who can truly push her to her limit, and the racetrack has been sluggish recently, which factors might handicap her attempt at the record. Regardless, it would be fascinating to see her go for the record. Dane Dawkins continues to ride with trainer Gary Subratie.
On the other side, the agony in this race is determining who will be second to this magnificent filly. Atomica's stablemates D Head Cornerstone and Crimson, as well as Jason DaCosta's Miniature Man and Outbidder, are all very similar in talent, making determining the exacta horse extremely difficult.
However, looking at past and current performances, DaCosta's duo look the likely one to follow Atomica.
The thid staging of the Menudo Trophy, a three-year-old and upward Graded Stakes/Open Allowance contest, is positioned as the fourth event on the 10-race card with a post time of 1:35 pm. First race is at 11:45 am.
Miniature Man has been beaten by Atomica twice this season already. Miniature Man was seven lengths behind Atomica on July 1 over seven and a half furlongs (1,500m), and again five and a quarter lengths behind the filly on August 26 in the Legal Light Trophy over nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m). Miniature Man could well finish second once more behind Atomica. Ramon Nepare rides with 46.0kgs (101 lb).
Outbidder finished sixth by over 20 lengths in the latest Poorlittlerichgirl Trophy, behind Is That A Fact and Blue Vinyl. Outbidder confronts a difficult battle here against Atomica but she should do well for second place. Jerome Innis will weigh 46.0 kg.
D Head Cornerstone finished in fifth place by 11 lengths, behind Is That A Fact and Blue Vinyl in the Poorlittlegirl Trophy. D Head Cornerstone would appreciate this extended journey, and having already finished in front of Outbidder he could do just that again.
Crimson finished second behind Bern Notice in a $750,000 claiming bracket on September 10. Crimson steps up here to compete and looks the likely one of the remaining four with minimal chance of getting second money.
Ones to watch:
Race 1) Crucial Alexxya/Lion Charmer/Zayn's Princess
Race 2) Dancing With A Cat/Biblical Legend/Thunderstrike
Race 3) Mr Senator/Princess Talise/Miss Lynton
Race 4) Atomica/Miniature Man/D Head Cornerstone
Race 5) Hoist The Mast/Donalmighty/Sheboom
Race 6) Gilbert/Real Boss/Delay The Game
Race 7) Wow How/Sensational Move/Manoushe
Race 8) Blade/Hunza/Thesurvior
Race 9) Neo Star/Print Quality/Don Vincenzo
Race 10) I've Got Magic/Easy As ABC/Sistren Treasure