KINGSTON, Jamaica - Trainer Michael Marlowe, the son of former jockey and trainer Valbert Marlowe, who joined the ranks of horse conditioners at Caymanas Park in May of 2016, said that the high point of his six-year-old career was when his “big boy” Marquesas won the 2018 Jamaica St Leger.
Marquesas was voted as the champion two-year-old for 2017 and was listed as the winter book favourite for the native-bred three-year-old Classic series of races in 2018.
As the favourite, Marquesas lost the 2000 Guineas, the Lotto Classic for the Governor’s Cup, and the Jamaica Derby as the burden of being the champion two-year-old weighed heavily on his shoulders.
“Losing the Jamaica Derby was a shocker. We never wanted to lose that race as turning for home; he (Marquesas) went wide turning and lost the race. Marquesas was defeated by 2 ¾ lengths by Drone Strike,” Marlowe said.
The burdensome weight of expectation was removed from the frame of Marquesas as he produced a devastating winning kick, leaving the five-furlong (1,000m) point in the 10-furlong (2,000m) Sagicor Bank-sponsored Jamaica St Leger to win by 18 lengths in a time of 2:10.0. The St Leger was the final jewel in that year’s Triple Crown series of races.
“We went into the Jamaica St Leger with vengeance. I told jockey Shane Ellis not to lose this time on Marquesas. It was the same tactics again, moving from the half-mile and he won by a city block. It was a spectacular day for me after winning the St Leger. It was the high point in my career plus the year was also a breakout year for me as well.
“I was voted as the Most Improved Trainer plus Marquesas was the top three-year-old for the season as well after finishing second in the Governor’s Cup and second in the Derby and first in the Jamaica St Leger. The year 2017 was also a good year for us as Marquesas had won the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes,” Marlowe said.
He continued: “Everyone thought that we should have won the Triple Crown. How we lost the 2000 Guineas; how did we lose the Governor’s Cup and the Jamaica Derby? Yes, this is horse racing and I must be grateful for what we accomplished and I was happy for the win in the Jamaica St Leger.”