Cardenas regains lead with triple
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Title-chasing jockey, Dick Cardenas, regained the lead from arch-rival Dane Nelson in their tit-for-tat battle for the jockeys' championship, thanks to a sparkling three-timer at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Cardenas, the 2011 champion, signalled his intention to take back the lead after relinquishing it to reigning champion Nelson (who rode five winners on Saturday) from the very first race, with a decisive victory aboard 1-2 favourite DEO VOLENTE for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta in the 1400 metres event for high claimers.
After a near miss aboard the DaCosta-trained two-year-old debutante, DINNER BY SEVEN (3-1), in the second race for two-year-olds, Cardenas drew alongside Nelson on 71 wins with a narrow victory aboard the DaCosta-trained SIR VON (4-1) in the fifth race over the straight for open allowance horses.
He then squeezed past Nelson in the sixth with an effortless win aboard 2-5 favourite SACHIN for trainer Joseph Thomas, this over 1200 metres for $180,000 claimers.
Cardenas thus ended the day on 72 wins, one ahead of Nelson, who failed to ride a winner on the nine-race programme following an impressive tally of nine winners on the two previous racedays.
While the Panamanian had arm chair rides aboard DEO VOLENTE and DINNER BY SEVEN, he had to pull out all the stops in order to bring home the American seven-year-old horse, SIR VON, by a head from the fast-finishing 9-5 chance, EL PODEROSO, with Hall of Fame jockey Winston Griffiths aboard.
SIR VON raced prominently coming on to the main track as SUNLIGHT EXPRESS (5-2) led at a fast clip from LADYLIKE (3-1) in a field of seven. He quickened nicely to assume the lead from SUNLIGHT EXPRESS approaching the distance and held on grimly from topweight EL PODEROSO, who came flying at the finish.
Later in the afternoon, the Gordon Lewis-trained CRUCIAL, running at odds of 5-1 with Rayan Wilson riding for owner Michros, made all convincingly to win the Knutsford Park Cup feature over 1200 metres for three-year-olds, winning by 33/4 lengths from DAGGA DAGGA LINKS (9-2) with Omar Walker up in a field of 10.
The howling 3-5 favourite, LOCKED AND LOADED, with Shane Ellis aboard, missed the break and was unable to go the early pace, eventually finishing fourth.
DaCosta topped all trainers with two winners in DEO VOLENTE and SIR VON, while the Anthony Nunes-trained ALACRANN (2-1), with Shane Ellis aboard, made a winning debut in the two-year-old race over 800 metres straight.
The son of Traditional motored from well off the pace after being slowly into stride to catch DINNER AT SEVEN and long-time leader SMOKEY TOPAZ (1-4 favourite) close to home.