Halledeen still hot at the track
For the second consecutive Saturday, leading jockey Robert Halledeen rode three winners at Caymanas Park to extend his lead to two over four-time champion Omar Walker, who chalked up two wins.
Among his three-timer was 2-1 chance POKER STAR for his guv'nor, champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, in the 20th running of the Sir Howard Stakes over 1200 metres, feature event for native bred three-year-old colts and geldings with classic potential.
Halledeen also won aboard the DaCosta-trained 3-y-o debutant, LEGAL ACCOUNT, a 7-5 favou-rite in the sixth race over the straight for maiden three-year-olds, as well as 4-1 chance PRINCESS SALLEMA, who made all in the eighth race over 1500 metres, the same distance over which the Dennis Lee-trained 5-y-o mare won on the previous Saturday with Halledeen aboard.
After failing to ride a winner on Ash Wednesday, the in-form rider rebounded nicely to push his season's tally to 15 - two ahead of Walker, who booted 4-5 favourite PRINCESS TABOKIE in the second race over 1100 metres for maiden four-year-olds and up, and the Richard Azan-trained ISRAELITE (5-2) to an easy win in the fifth race over a mile.
With the newly introduced monthly cash-incentive scheme by CTL for owners, trainers, jockeys, and grooms, Halledeen, with seven winners so far, leads Walker by one win and could well capture the $20,000 incentive with two race meets remaining this month.
getting into top gear
POKER STAR, meanwhile, was held off the early pace in fourth leaving the half mile, as the even-money favourite, ROYAL ASSAULT, under champion jockey Dane Nelson, led narrowly from 2-1 chance RAS EMANUEL, with Walker aboard.
ROYAL ASSAULT disposed of RAS EMANUEL early in the straight, but by then, POKER STAR was getting into top gear on the inside, blowing past him, leaving the furlong pole to beat him by six lengths in the fairly good time of 1:12.4. Eight ran.