‘Bigdaddy’ cools ‘em in Lotto Classic
Running on strongly on the rails leaving the furlong pole, BIGDADDYKOOL responded to a bustling ride from top apprentice Linton Steadman to win the 76th running of the Lotto Classic for the Governor's Cup over 2,000 metres in a driving finish at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Trained by Anthony 'Baba' Nunes, who saddled three winners on the12-race programme, BIGDADDYKOOL, running at odds of 9-2, won by three-quarter length from long-time leader JAMAI RAJA (9-1) with Robert Halledeen aboard. Another three-quarter length, in third was 3-5 favourite ORPHEUS, with champion jockey Shane Ellis riding for Nunes.
When the starter let them go, ORPHEUS, drawn on the outside, stumbled at the start but recovered quickly to hold a prominent position coming out of the clubhouse turn as the 99-1 outsider, URBAN PRINCIPAL, made the early running ahead of JAMAI RAJA, who shot into the lead at the halfway stage.
ORPHEUS, who passed the half mile in third, quickly went in chase and mounted his challenge wide of JAMAI RAJA into the straight and a neck-and- neck duel ensued.
During all of this, BIGDADDYKOOL was never far off the pace in fourth leaving the half mile. He turned for home within striking distance on the inside, then went by the battling leaders midway the last furlong for a decisive win.
A bay gelding by Sorrentino out of Beware Baby, BIGDADDYKOOL, by virtue of this victory, has firmly established himself as a top contender for the June 25 Cal's Jamaica Derby.
"Having won his previous race on May 7, Bigdaddykool has obviously settled down. He stays well and will relish every inch of the derby distance, and I am upbeat about his chances," said the second- generation trainer Nunes, who was quick to add that young Steadman will retain the ride come derby day.
Steadman said BIGDADDYKOOL took a lot of riding, but he was equal to the task.
"I had to bustle him up to keep in touch of the leaders leaving the half mile, but the good thing was that I was able to save ground on the rails and it paid off in the end," explained the first-season apprentice.
BIGDADDYKOOL is owned by the Trinidadian Stephan Narinesingh and bred by Ham Stables Limited. This was his third win from eight career starts.
Nunes also saddled the 2-y-o debutante, VERY CLASSIC, in the Lotto Juvenile Stakes and 7-2 chance HOUDINI'S MAGIC in the closing race, both ridden by Ellis.
Reigning champion sprinter POKER STAR won the 20th running of the Lotto Sprint Trophy over 1,100 metres in stakes record time of 1:04.3/5