Top American jockey could ride Nuclear Affair in Cal’s Jamaica Derby
Top American jockey, Javier Castellano, could ride one of the top contenders in the 96th running of the Cal’s Jamaica Derby over 2400 metres at Caymanas Park on Saturday, June 25.
This was disclosed by Michael Bernard, owner of Triple Crown aspirant, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, winner of the Post to Post 1000 Guineas on April 9.
Speaking at yesterday’s full-blown launch of Derby Day 2016, hosted by Cal’s Manufacturing on the front lawns of Caymanas Park, Bernard said that with her Guineas-winning rider Dane Nelson now riding in Canada and fully booked, he could find it difficult to return home for the ride aboard NUCLEAR AFFAIR.
“This would leave the door open for a big international rider like Castellano to slip through. Although a decision is yet to be made, Castellano is definitely in the mix. He has ridden horses for me in North America in the past and also rode for the filly’s trainer Gary Subratie in the Trinidad Derby.
“What more, racing fans would love to see Castellano ride in Jamaica on one of the biggest racedays,” added Bernard.
Denzil Miller Jr., racing secretary at Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), noted that the filly, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, is one of four top contenders for the $7 million race.
In addition to NUCLEAR AFFAIR, Miller listed the other leading contenders as the second Triple Crown aspirant FUTURE KING from the stables of 15-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, stable-companion A THOUSAND STARS, who won the Oaks, and the recent Lotto Classic winner BIGDADDYKOOL from the Anthony Nunes’ stables.
Also on the card are two other races sponsored by Cal’s, including the Cal’s 180 Real Vibes Classic for $180,000 claimers over 1600 metres, which offers a purse of $1 million, inclusive of $500,000 from the sponsor. There will also be the Cal’s Jockeys’ Challenge, which offers total prize money of $100,000 - $50,000 to the winning jockey on points, $30,000 for second and $20,000 for third, each to be presented with lucky whips as well.
According to Cal’s marketing manager, Sabrina Thomas, the theme for the day is ‘Elegance and Prestige’ and in this regard she is urging racing fans to dress casually elegant on the day.
Continuing, Thomas said: “As a company, we know the true value of promotions and as such when the opportunity arose to sponsor the 2016 Jamaica Derby we responded without hesitation. Cal’s will make this year’s derby full of fun and excitement for all involved.
“We will, through our extensive promotions, make it an experience for all horsemen while placing special emphasis on those who are the true supporters of racing - the punters.
“It is against this background that we have returned to the Sport of Kings this year and has invested over $9 million, inclusive of $1.5 million to the derby purse, $500,000 to the 180 Classic and over $7 million towards promotions and give-aways, which started four weeks ago through select OTB’s, the print and the electronic media on a weekly basis.”
She then outlined a number of promotional activities, including a live after race show, featuring Ashanti Amen, Zion and Sizzla, as well as the Cal’s Breakfast at the Winning Post promotion on the morning of Friday, June 24 at Caymanas Park.
Meanwhile, three veteran trainers - Vin Edwards, Robert Darby Sr. and Richard Todd - were honoured by Cal’s at the launch, for their contribution to racing, each receiving plaques, gift baskets and 10 bags of horse feed from Cal’s CEO, Carlton Watson.
Shane Dalling, the newly-appointed CEO of Caymanas Track Limited, also addressed the gathering.