KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Balkrishen Sagan-Maraj owned two-year-old chestnut colt Santorini made an encouraging debut by scoring a very good come-from-behind win in the $900,000 Rhoel Rhoden Memorial Trophy over five-and-a-half furlongs (1100 metres) at Caymanas Park last Saturday.
Trained by Anthony Nunes and ridden by Dane Nelson, Santorini came with a strong run in deep stretch to beat rivals by a length and quarter going away. Bred by Soul Warrior out of the Vanadium mare Milestone, Santorini ran the distance in a good 1:07.0 minutes.
In his post-race comments, Nunes was of the view that he has unearthed another talented runner who should do well in longer races.
“Well for me it was a workmanlike win but he wanted a distance of ground in the sense that he is by Soul Warrior, who is the sire of Supreme Soul and Toona Ciliata. And to complement his breeding, his mother is Milestone which makes him a half-brother to Houdini’s Magic who has also won seven furlongs and beyond.
“So, he wants to go long but being a two-year-old you started him going five and a half furlongs as a starting point. And if he had been beaten, it would have been alright. But reviewing his performance, what I liked is that he showed positive signs of battling qualities.
“When he saw the opening, he took it and came home. Our hope is that he will stay sound and continue to realise the potential he has shown and I think he will have a nice future going longer,” Nunes said.
Santorini was unable to go with the early leaders and raced among the backmarkers as Jahsendblessings (Dick Cardenas up) led the small field of eight runners. Awesome Choice (Anthony Thomas astride) and The Genesis with Shane Ellis in the saddle raced in close touch of the leader.
Navigating the half-mile (800m) turn, Santorini inched closer to the leaders and by the time the field entered the straight he was in third spot on the inside rails.
With Jahsendblessings refusing to quit while holding his ground just off the rails, Nelson had to switch Santorini to mid-track where he hit top strides to defeat Jahsendblessings with ease. The Genesis was third.