Santorini snatches inaugural 'Fanna' Griffiths ClassicSunday, September 05, 2021
Although Panamanian jockey Dick Cardenas rode a brilliant five-timer, it was the Anthony Nunes-conditioned three-year-old chestnut colt Santorini who stole the spotlight when he upset rivals to win the inaugural running of the $3.75-M Winston “Fanna” Griffiths Classic feature event at Caymanas Park yesterday.
The native-bred three-year-old non-winners of a Grade One event over the new distance of 9 ½ furlongs (1,900m) ran in honour of Winston Griffiths, the man who has ridden the most winners overall (1,663) and the most Classic (48) winners in Jamaica.
And the race was not short of excitement as Santorini overpoweed rivals to win by a length and quarter going away from Billy Whizz and Secret Identity in a time of 2:02.1. Santorini won at odds of 9-1.
It wasn't the best of start for Santorini as jockey Linton Steadman held the far-striding runner at the back of the nine-horse field passing the stands for the first time and around the clubhouse turn. Santorini went by only three horses down the backstretch to occupy sixth place as Ianzha Links (Anthony Thomas) led ahead of Regal and Royal (Tevin Foster) and the trio of Daddy Jones (Robert Halledeen), Billy Whizz (Dick Cardenas) and Big Jule (Omar Walker).
Santorini made his navigating the half-mile (800m) turn and although he was fifth place, he was gaining on the leaders with every stride. Turning for home and going five wide at the bend, Steadman got Santorini to change through gears and the chestnut gelding picked up the lead with a furlong to go and held it to the wire. Splits for the race were 25.3 x 50.1 x 1:14.1 x 1:40.1.
Meanwhile, Cardenas was the riding machine on the day, booting home his five winners from nine mounts on the 11-race programme.
Cardenas took the first three races to start the day. He won aboard Synchronize for trainer Dale Murphy in the first race; Silent Mission for trainer Jason DaCosta in the second race; and Lightning McQueen for trainer Cliford Atkinson Jr in the third race.
Cardenas then booted home Smokey Topaz for owner/trainer Andrew McDonald in the day's fifth event and closed out a well-deserved five-timer aboard the Patrick Lynch-trained Culin's Flight in the 10th event.
DaCosta saddled Three Times Lucky (Jerome Innis) in the eighth race for his double to top the trainers on the day.
Racing continues next Saturday.