Delightful double for Cardenas
FORMER CHAMPION jockey Dick Cardenas returned to Jamaica after a two-year absence to boot home two winners from four rides at Caymanas yesterday, including 3-5 favourite PONTIUS PILATE in the Andrew H.B. Aguilar Memorial Cup maiden special for two-year-olds over a mile.
Cardenas, 32, left Jamaica in December 2014 after riding successfully at Caymanas Park for six years, winning the championship in 2011.
"I left Churchill Downs in the United States with the intention of riding today and at next Saturday's big Diamond Mile meet, where I will ride Bigdaddykool for trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes before leaving on December 11," he disclosed.
"I was not only happy to win the opening race aboard the first of my two rides for Nunes, Mesmerize, but it was nice riding for my old stable again and reconnecting with my old friends after two years," said the quiet Panamanian.
PONTIUS PILATE, who was purchased for the record price of $5 million at the 2015 TOBA yearling sale but flopped as the 1-9 favourite on his recent debut, made most in a field of nine. The chestnut colt by Forest Danger out of Sea Treaty disposed of mid-race leader, RADICAL, entering the straight and under strong urging, held on by three-quarter length from the fast-finishing 2-1 chance PROUD OF NUCLEAR.
PONTIUS PILATE, who is co-owned by Nunes and the Trinidadian Stephan Narinesingh, rounded off a triple for the in-form trainer on the 10-race programme.
Nunes disclosed that PONTIUS PILATE is scheduled to leave the island next February to continue his racing career in Trinidad.