Trainer Chen lands Eight Thirty double
The debutants, EARTH ANGEL and MARLENE MY LOVE, both trained by Dwight Chen, kicked off the 3-y-o campaign leading up to the classics with contrasting victories in the divided Mercury Sprint for native-bred maiden fillies over the straight at Caymanas Park yesterday.
In Division I, EARTH ANGEL, running at odds of 5-1, with Arthur Budhu aboard, disposed of tearaway leader DELPHINIUM (2-1) approaching the distance to win by 51/2L lengths from the even-money favourite BLUE TRADITION in a field of 11.
The chestnut filly by Blue Pepsi Lodge out of Flint Ridge covered the distance in the fairly good time of 59.4 behind splits of 22.3 and 46.4 for the half mile. She is owned and bred by Trevor Dunkley Sr.
Just over an hour later, stable-companion MARLENE MY LOVE, running as the howling 1-9 favourite, with three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson aboard, had to work overtime to catch and beat long-time leader ADORING LADY (6-1) by half a length, clocking 59.3.
The Collin Blair-trained ADORNG LADY, with apprentice Andre Powell aboard, raced into a clear lead from her unfavourable draw on the far side, only to be caught close home by the fast-finishing MARLENE MY LOVE, closing rapidly on the stands' side in a field of eight. A bay filly by Adore the Gold out of Miss Chestnut, which makes her a half sister to two-time 'Horse of the Year' MARK MY WORD, MARLENE MY LOVE is owned by Howard Hamilton and bred by HAM Stables Limited.
Meanwhile, leading all-time trainer and current champion Wayne DaCosta won the overnight allowance supporting feature for the Allan 'Billy' Williams Memorial trophy over 1400 metres with 9-5 favourite ROYAL VIBES.
Coming from off the pace with Jevanne Erwin riding for owner Carlton Watson, ROYAL VIBES won in a driving finish from 6-1 chance TIMEFORARMS in a field of 11.
In recognition of his historic 2,000th career win on the previous Saturday, DaCosta was presented with a commemorative trophy after the eighth race by CTL director Alvin Beckford.