Seeking My Dream tops Jamaica derby
SEEKING MY DREAM, ridden by four-time champion Omar Walker for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, made amends for his near misses in the 2000 Guineas and Lotto Classic (Governor's Cup) to win the 95th running of the Cal's Jamaica Derby over 2400 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Owned by Member of Parliament Derrick Smith and bred by Sherman Clachar and Norman Gordon, the three-year-old chestnut colt by Seeking The Glory out of the 2008 Triple Crown winner Alsafra, shot into the lead, leaving the half mile and outstayed stable-companion and 8-5 favourite ALI BABA under Richard Halledeen by 4 1/2 lengths.
Finishing third, a farther 61/2 length adrift, was the recent Lotto Classic winner KRONUS (4-1) with Richard Mairs again in the saddle, while fourth went to 17-1 chance ORIGINAL TRAIN with leading-time jockey and 'Hall of Famer' Winston 'Fanna' Griffiths aboard.
There was huge cheer from the bumper crowd when the starter let them go, with ROAD WI SEH (77-1) and the 1000 Guineas winner PUDDY POOH (14-1) hooked up on the lead, passing the stands for the first time, ahead of POKER STAR (10-1) and ALI BABA.
But as the race progressed, SEEKING MY DREAM who was never far off the pace, shot past PUDDY POOH and ROAD WI SHE leaving the half mile and although ALI BABA quickly went in chase to set the stage for a straight fight from the final bend, SEEKING MY DREAM soon lengthened his strides on the inside to win going away, turning the tables on both his Guineas conqueror ALI BABA and the Governor's Cup hero KNONUS in third.
It was no surprise for DaCosta, who was always confident that his two top horses would finish first and second.
"Although Ali Baba beat him in the 2000 Guineas back in April, Seeking My Dream is, in fact, bred to win the derby, his mother Alsafra, a triple crown winner, having won this race in 2008. Both will be back for the season's final classic, the St. Leger over the shorter distance of 2000 metres on July 11," said DaCosta.
For veteran owner Smith, it's a day he will long remember. Accompanied by his wife, Karleen, and their three sons, the former government minister said he always wanted to win the derby after close to 40 years as an owner and he was happy that his family was present to share in the occasion.
It was Walker's first derby win and DaCosta's fifth.