Wayne DaCosta's Day - Trainer overjoyed after bagging Guineas double
Wayne DaCosta's run of champion trainer titles stands at 16. Last year made it 12 consecutive, in excess of 2000 winners accounting for most major races, including Jamaica derbies and back-to-back Diamond Mile victories. Yet, he described yesterday's Guineas double as "ecstasy".
"I have never had this feeling before, winning two big races on the same day, "he told The Sunday Gleaner while making his customary trek from the north lounge at Caymanas Park to the winners' enclosure after FEARLESS SAMURAI came home a half-length clear of Richard Azan's MARKET FORCE in the 2000 Guineas.
DaCosta was put on the cusp of history two races earlier when his super filly, SHE'S A MANEATER, expertly handled by champion jockey Omar Walker, outclassed her peers in the 1000 Guineas, strolling home almost five lengths clear of Anthony Nunes' BILINGUAL.
Walker rode identical races to accompany DaCosta into the history books, biding his time just off the leaders for the first half-mile before using his mounts' superior pace to dispute the lead into the lane and kicking clear off the turn.
DaCosta became the sixth trainer to complete a 1000-2000 Guineas double, joining Paul Newman (1980), Kenneth Mattis (1981), Billy Williams (1991), Philip Feanny (1992 and 1993), and Gary Subratie (2011).
Walker, who experienced Guineas joy in 2014 and 2015, winning the 2000 with TALENTED TONY K and the 1000 aboard PUDDY POOH, respectively, was notching his first double in the season's classic openers.
Aboard SHE'S A MANEATER, he sat fifth, but close enough from post-position 10 while EMPRESS HALL, MONEY MAGNET, MARLENE MY LOVE and LIGHTNING LILY disputed the lead.
She joined the leaders a half-mile out and took on old rival MONEY MAGNET, racing to the turn as a team while BILINGUAL started a threatening move to straighten full of running and charging at the leaders.
However, SHE'S A MANEATER changed gears a furlong out, leaving BILINGUAL under pressure and darting to the rail with Robert Halledeen, killing her chances against DaCosta's talented filly, who stopped the clock in 1:39.0 for a mile.
FEARLESS SAMURAI was not as impressive, winning in 1:40.2 after stalking and going past stablemate LOOSE CANNON from three furlongs out. Though eased by Walker, his winning margin was diminishing at the end as MARKET FORCE, out for the third time, came charging at the end under apprentice Bebeto Harvey.
DaCosta and Walker accounted for four of the day's 12 races, combining for the two Guineas, in addition to ALEXANDER REW in the third and VISION OF GOLD in the ninth.
Punters will have to return on Saturday for a shot at the Pick-9, which eluded bettors for another raceday. It's carry-over now stands at $2.5 million after 44-1 shocker Cruise Lava Cruise turned the bet on its head in the seventh event.