Trainer DaCosta 2,000 not out
Newly crowned 16-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta attained yet another milestone in the annals of local racing when he became the first trainer to saddle 2,000 winners, thanks to a late double on yesterday's 10-race programme at Caymanas Park.
DaCosta recorded his 1,999th win when 5-2 chance IAN LINKS ran on strongly to win the eighth race over 1600 metres in decisive fashion with champion jockey Omar Walker aboard. He came back to win the 10th and final race over 1820 metres in dramatic fashion with 6-5 favourite VISION OF LOVE, the 4-y-o chestnut gelding finishing in a dead-heat for first with the fast-finishing COUNTER ATTACK (5-1) under apprentice Linton Steadman.
Significantly, VISION OF GOLD was also ridden by stable jockey Walker for owner Elizabeth DaCosta, the trainer's wife.
Although it was awfully close in the last race, the Hall of Fame (2009) trainer was, of course, elated with the outcome.
To mark the occasion, DaCosta was toasted with champagne by CTL's racing secretary Denzil Miller in the winners' enclosure minutes later.
"Ever since I became the leading all-time trainer in Jamaica back in April, surpassing Philip Feanny with my 1,951st win with Super Cop, my next objective was to reach the magical figure of 2,000 before the end of the 2016 season," DaCosta said.
"Although it didn't happen last year, having missed out by two weeks, attaining the milestone today is no less significant. It's a wonderful feeling, and having won the trainer's title for the past 12 years, it will be much of the same in 2017," promised DaCosta, whose long and distinguished training career spans 40 years.
During that time, he has won the derby on four occasions - THORNBIRD (1984), WAR ZONE (1996), GOOD PROSPECT (1999), PERFECT NEIGHBOUR (2013) and SEEKING MY DREAM (2015), along with numerous big race successes over the years.
Meanwhile, the day's 1300-metre feature for the James B. Dawes Memorial Trophy (claiming $450,000-$400,000) saw the 3-5 favourite SCOOP JORDYNE managing only third to the outsiders TRADITIONAL STORM (29-1) and MIND SET (89-1) in a photo finish.
Trained by Randolph Scott, TRADITIONAL STORM provided the apprentice Andre Powell, with the second, of two winners on the card.