KINGSTON, Jamaica - A viable racing industry was launched 63 years ago and to commemorate that momentous occasion today’s feature event was another renewal of the 1820-metre Caymanas Park 1959 Trophy. Racing was mainly gymkhana meets conducted on sundry grass surfaces such as Marlie Mount, Old Harbour (St Catherine), Kingston Racecourse (Heroes’ Park) and finally at Knutsford Park (New Kingston).
Racing on an 1820-metre sand circuit with two important chutes, 1400 stalls, a modern grandstand, and betting facilitated by an electromagnetic totalizator system, to be followed by issuance of licences to bookmaking operations four years later, ensured that local horse racing skyrocketed into the then modern era of the promotion of this sport/business. However, over the last three decades legitimate concerns have been raised continually over its future viability.
Run as race eight, this edition of the Caymanas Park 1959 Trophy went to D Head Cornerstone (3-1), fresh from finishing fourth in the Jamaica Derby. The failed Classic aspirant, who was also fourth in the Jamaica St Leger, was partnered by reigning champion Anthony Thomas for trainer Gary Subratie and won comfortably.
The opener run over 600 metres was won by Okahumpka (4-5), with leading reinsman Dane Dawkins — for the first of two on the day — doing the honours for trainer Steven Todd. This was victory number four from the last five starts by the Michael Bernard-bred eight-year-old chestnut gelding.
Fined recently for excessive use of the whip, Jemar Jackson was once again tasked with riding the same horse in the 1600-metre second event. The enigmatic reinsman brought the Ryan Darby-conditioned Nala’s Bushman (9-2) with a well-timed late challenge to give the trainer the first of double success on the card.
Owned and trained by United Racehorse Trainers Association President Patrick Smellie and ridden by Odeen Edwards, Buzz Assault (7-1) was a 15-length runaway in the third run over 1100 metres.
After an absence of an hour, Ryan Darby was back in the winners’ enclosure when his speedy maiden filly Shrewsbury Norm (6-5) closed the stable double from in front, with former six-time champion Omar Walker’s superior skills holding off main challenger She’s My Friend (Abigail Able) in the fourth event over 1100 metres.
United States-bred four-year-old colt Fake (5-2) won the day’s fifth event piloted by Oshane Nugent. Seemingly difficult to train, it took the Michael McIntosh-trained, former Philip Feanny inmate 19 career attempts to shed his maiden tag in the day’s fifth run over a 1000-metre straight course. Contested over the same distance, race six had a winning favourite in the form of Raymond Townsend’s Will The Conqueror for Dawkins to close his riding double.
The major upset on the nine-race programme materialised in the seventh over 900 metres. With Tevin Foster astride, 22-1 shot Star Lee was always in control of the sprint for trainer Delroy Waugh’s first of the season from six start declarations.
In the nightcap it was a long-overdue return to the winners’ enclosure for Positive ID (4-5). In a race restricted to four-year-olds and upwards non-winners of three, the Bern Identity-bred colt, in his twelfth start this year, outstayed 10 rivals comprehensively with jockey Reyan Lewis trying to make the eventual official win margin of 11 lengths a lot less. It is somewhat fitting that on the day of the Caymanas Park 1959 there was this winner saddled by second-generation conditioner Michael Marlowe. His dad Valbert was at the peak of his powers back in that era and operated from a barn located between Passage Fort Drive and an 1820-metre starting chute. He trained an English-bred horse named Kilowatt to win the inaugural Gold Cup in 1967 and 1968, was a late non-starter in 1969, but returned to reclaim it in 1970.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Michael McIntosh for the patience to prepare Fake for a winning run and delivering the Best Winning Gallop in the process. The Jockeyship Award goes to Jemar Jackson for overcoming the embarrassment of a fine for excessive use of the whip in order to ride the same horse to victory.