Step It Up makes it six straight
Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The vastly improved five-year-old gelding, STEP IT UP, maintained his remarkable streak at Caymanas Park yesterday, winning the overnight allowance race over 1100 metres in decisive fashion to record his sixth consecutive win.
Ridden as usual by Robert Halledeen for owner Orville S. Johnson and trainer Stedman Curtis, STEP IT UP, running at odds of 7-2 in a field of 10, again defied the skeptics to win by a length from the fast-finishing pair of EDISON (9-5) and SCOOP JORDYNE (17-1).
The 8-5 favourite, CAMPESINO, gave no end of problems to enter the starting gates and although outsped a bit in fourth at the half-mile, made mild headway on the outside to finish fourth.
Well away from the gates, STEP IT UP was ridden to dispute the lead with FORCE DE JOUR (8-1) until quickening away leaving the 600-metre marker to turn for home a clear leader, then held on well to win much easier than the official margin of a length indicated.
Claimed from trainer Rudolph Hardial for $180,000 by his trainer early in the season, STEP IP UP has won race after race in claiming company before upstaging overnight allowance horses yesterday.
His streak actually started in June when landing the Sports Journalists of Jamaica Trophy for $350,000-$310,000 claimers with Halledeen aboard. And he has not looked back.
His owner attributed his success to the two persons who worked closest with the five-year-old son of Dayton Flyer-Constant Girl.
"I have to hand it to the groom Erron Lammy and the trainer, but my contribution as the owner cannot be discounted. This horse just loves to win races and although somewhat underrated owing to his humble beginnings, today's victory in allowance company has changed all that," said Johnson.
STEP IT UP was bred by HAM Stables Limited.
Meanwhile, the even-money favourite, COLD GROUND, ran on strongly along the rails to catch long-time leader JADA'SFABULOUSTOUR in the last 100 metres, to win the opening race over a mile for the Alty McKenzie Memorial Cup.
Trained by Ryan Darby for owner Raphael Gordon, the six-year-old gelding provided champion jockey Dane Nelson with the first of two winners on the card. Also riding two winners were Halledeen and Aaron Chatrie, Gary Subratie saddled two, while the sparingly-used jockey, Akeem Grant, won his first race in three years and only the second of his career, this aboard 1-2 favourite OPULENT for trainer Anthony Nunes in the sixth race over the straight.