ARIMA, Trinidad – Kimal Santo could hardly contain his emotions, after he etched his name in the horse racing record books, when he became the first apprentice to complete the Trinidad & Tobago triple crown aboard Wise Guy on Saturday (November 28).
Santo, 20, piloted the 2-5 favourite to a 1 ¼ lengths victory over stablemates, Apache, under Kerron Khelawan, and Bella Riva, ridden by Brian Boodramsing, in the US $10,500 T&T Derby, going 2,000 metres at Santa Rosa Park.
“Emotions are running very high right now, I am too excited I can’t even explain how I am feeling,” Santo said.
“All the hard work has paid off and I have now gone down in history.”
The victory also gave champion trainer John O’Brien his eighth T&T Derby win and a second triple crown success, after Momentum achieved the feat six years ago.
“It was a very proud moment for me,” said O’Brien. “It seems (Wise Guy) wanted to give us some heartache as he did not really quicken until late in the race, but I am very happy.
“They ran the same 1-2-3 (as the Midsummer Classic), so they obviously seem to be a cut above the rest.”
Wise Guy won the T&T Guineas in late September and the Midsummer Classic five weeks later.
He became Santa Rosa Park’s fourth triple crown winner, after the Glenn Mendez pair of Carnival Messiah (2001) and Top of the Class (2003), and Momentum.
Santo broke Wise Guy smartly and put the three-year-old, chestnut gelding to stalk the pacesetters through the early fractions.
The Jamaica-bred Nuclear Fire led by a 1 ½ on the backstretch closely tracked by Bella Riva and Wise Guy.
The field was tightly bunched leaving the 800m pole before Boodramsing produced Bella Riva coming off the final bend.
But Santo got a swift response from Wise Guy and the horse steadily moved past Bella Riva and held off the fast-finishing Apache for a time of two minutes, 09.3 seconds.
It was the last of three wins on the day’s seven-race card for Santo and the sixth in eight starts this year for Wise Guy.
The result broke a nine-year streak of Jamaica-bred horses winning the T&T Derby. The previous T&T-bred horse to win the prestigious race was Back on Top in 2010.