Dramatic end to Race 7 at Caymanas Park - Jockey falls off favourite in Front Runner Dash
The inaugural running of the $1 million Front Runner Dash resulted in a dramatic outcome at Caymanas Park yesterday as the howling 1-9 favourite BALAZO bolted off the track in the closing stages when looking all over the winner, decking champion jockey Shane Ellis.
Racing for the first time in the two-year-old feature for maidens over the round-five course, the Anthony Nunes-trained BALAZO was smartly away from the number one post and led comfortably from another first-time runner AWESOME SAUCE, the 2-1 second favourite in a field of seven.
In the straight, BALAZO opened up on the Richard Azan-trained AWESOME SAUCE with apprentice Bebeto Harvey aboard, and apparently had the race at his mercy midway the last furlong when things took a sinister twist.
BALAZO swerved out sharply to the right in the last 50 metres, forcing jockey Shane Ellis to jump as the chestnut gelding sailed over the outside rails near the winning post before ending up in the winners' enclosure.
AWESOME SAUCE was left in the lead and captured first place by default, 12 lengths clear of FIRST SELECTION (16-1) in third.
It was feared that Ellis was injured in the fall as he grabbed his neck on impact. However, after being rushed to the first-aid post for medical attention, he was cleared by the doctor on duty to ride highly fancied HOUDINI'S MAGIC in the 10th race for the Nigel B. Nunes Memorial Cup over 1,820 metres.
Meanwhile, second-generation trainer Ian Parsard paid homage to his recently deceased father, Harry Parsard, by saddling three winners formerly trained by him on the 11-race programme sponsored by Newport Mills Limited.
His winners were the 2015 St Leger winner SUPERLUMINAL, a 2-5 favourite in the third race over 1,400 metres, as well as the 3-y-o debutant SUNDANCE at 9-5 in the fifth, and, saving the best for last, 6-5 favourite LONG RUNNING TRAIN (Robert Halledeen up), who defied topweight of 57.0kg to win the Nunes Memorial by three lengths from the recent St Leger winner BIGDADDYKOOL.
"My father really wanted to win the Nunes Memorial, as back in the day, he was assistant trainer to Nunes. Before he died on August 16, he laid out a programme for LONG RUNNING TRAIN, and we simply connected the dots.
"LONG RUNNING TRAIN won in the smart time of 1:52.1, and she never ceases to amaze me", he said.
The claiming apprentice, Javaniel Patterson, also came into his own to ride three winners on the card, the first triple of his career.