A closer look at the race day of Wednesday, February 26

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War Hero - Jerome Innis

Old-timer War Hero wins two-in-row

At age 12, War Hero (Burning Marque – Almost President) continues to show that he still has winning efforts left in his hoofs.

War Hero scored his second-consecutive victory in an Optional Claiming ($250,000-$200,000) event going six furlongs (1,200m).

Owned and trained by Wilfred Chin and ridden by Jerome Innis, War Hero won by three parts-of-a-length in a time of 1:16.4.

War Hero was alert at the gates and raced close to the leaders as Sharp Skirt (Ruja Lahoe) dashed to the front ahead of Rohan’s Cattleya (Anthony Allen) and Boss Izzy (Mathew Bennett). War Hero then took his time rounding horses at the half-mile before slipping down into fourth place, approaching the distance as Big Black Nation (Shane Ellis) challenged for the lead.

Turning for home in third place on the inside of runners, Sharp Skirt and Big Black Nation, War Hero was produced for his run, and the old-timer responded well and came home for the win. Big Black Nation was game in second place with Bigman Union (Reyan Lewis) finishing third.

Bay To Grey off the mark after a change of equipment

After a tame debut on last when finishing in fifth place, Bay To Grey (Fearless Vision – Classy Chanel) returned with a change in racing equipment to release the maiden tag.

Bay To Grey was victorious in a four-year-old and upwards event over a distance of six-and-a-half furlongs (1,300m).

On his debut effort (February 16), Bay To Grey finished 3 ¾ lengths behind Belligerent King (Dane Nelson) and Eleadontplay (Dane Dawkins) on the five furlongs (1,000m) round course with only Lasix administrated by trainer Johnny Wilmot. On Wednesday, Wilmot decided to add the visor, and the result was a 3 ¼ length victory in a time of 1:23.3.

With apprentice Oshane Nugent in the saddle, Bay To Grey jumped into the early lead at the off but Nugent allowed Faulyna Forever (Richard Ingram) to take up the running. Approaching the home bend, Bay To Grey regained the lead, drawing away from rivals.

Sea Cruise (Jawara Steadman) finished second with Top Gear (Kawise Gentle) third in the four-year-old-year-old and upwards event for apprentice riders only.

Note: Coming off a six-month break, Sea Cruise was prominent in the first quarter of the race but went wide coming off the bend into the straight, losing ground, but was able to finish strong. One to note.

Consistent Miss Linda Wray gives Johnny Wilmot, Oshane Nugent a double

After combining to win the previous race with Bay To Grey in a maiden special weight contest, trainer Johnny Wilmot and apprentice Oshane Nugent returned with Miss Linda Wray to post a double after the consistent bay mare won a Restricted Allowance event.

After leaving the starting gates in the six-and-a-half-furlong event, Miss Linda Wray (Traditional – Ms Martha Brae) was taken off the pace as Strikinglygorgeous (Gordon Gregory) shot to the lead ahead of Mother Nature (Douglas Badaloo), Genuine Train (Dane Dawkins) and Treasure Train (Dane Nelson).

Navigating the half-mile (800m) turn, Mother Nature hit the front and began to open up on the field. Turning for home on the outside, Nugent got Miss Linda Wray going, and she was able to get up in time for the win.

The Nextbigting (Jerome Innis) was just half-a-length off the winner in second place. Ridewiththemob (Devon A Thomas) was a further 1 ¾ lengths adrift in third place. The final time was 1:24.1.

Key Witness in time at 16-1

Key Witness (He’stherealthing – A Thousand Ocean), trained by Leroy Tomlinson and ridden by Omar Walker, created a mild upset, winning at odds of 16-1 in an Optional Claiming ($550,000-$500,000) spread over six-and-a-half furlongs.

Key Witness, a five-year-old bay mare, raced in fifth place behind Contractor (Dane Nelson), Pakman (Youville Pinnock), Mr Pantheon (Reyan Lewis) and Smarty Tradition (Calvin Bailey) going into the half-mile turn.

Turing for home still behind Pakman and Contractor, Key Witness came with a telling run on the inside rails in the closing stages of the race, getting up in time to win by a short head in a driving finish to wire over Pakman. Eddie’s Princess (Oneil Mullings) came on strong in the end to get third place. The final time for the event was 1:21.2.

Note: Killer Bee (Anthony Thomas) wasn’t the best to leave the starting gates and had to settle in last position. Killer Bee took his time rounding rivals down the backstretch and made significant progress approaching the final bend before coming on strong in deep stretch to finish in fourth place. One to follow.

Three horses claimed

Only three horses went through the claiming box on Ash Wednesday.

Henry Harrison Jr claimed Big Black Nation for owner Faye Lee for $250,000 from Oneil Markland in the second race.

In the ninth race, Rennex Burrell claimed Killer Bee for owner Lloyd Salmon from Edward Stanberry, and Gary Griffiths claimed Pakman for owner Alphonso Raymond from Fitzroy Glispie. Both horses were claimed for $550,000.