Choo Choo Blue takes Gold Cup
UNITED STATES-bred CHOO CHOO BLUE yesterday powered away from HOUDINI'S MAGIC and a winded CHACE THE GREAT, a half-furlong out, to score a convincing win in the $1.75 million Gold Cup.
The four-year-old filly sat third in the cat bird seat down the backstretch of the 1400-metre Grade One race, tracking SIR BUDGET and HOUDINI'S MAGIC before starting her winning run from three furlongs out.
Moving as a team with 9-5 favourite CHACE THE GREAT, who was slowly into stride and pushed to get into the race, CHOO CHOO BLUE got first run on the leaders coming off the home turn and pounced on the outside with apprentice Dane Dawkins.
CHACE THE GREAT made rapid headway off the turn and split the pair of SIR BUDGET and HOUDINI'S MAGIC, briefly pointing on CHOO CHOO BLUE.
However, the task of having to come from behind splits of 23.1, 45.1, and 1:10.2 took a toll on CHACE THE GREAT when CHOO CHOO BLUE wound up and let fly in mid-track, sprinting clear for a one-and-three-quarter length win at odds of 4-1.
LOTTERY TICKET, always unable to cope with the speed of her rivals, came home strongly to grab second from HOUDINI'S MAGIC by three-quarter length.
CHACE THE GREAT faded into fourth, beaten by a bad break and CHOO CHOO BLUE'S rapid finish, a winning time of 1:23.4.
Dawkins was among three jockeys who rode two winners on the 10-race card, opening his account in the fifth with 7-2 chance CHEERS.
Panamanian Dick Cardenas got a great start to the day's programme, winning the opening event and the third astride MALACHI and NASDAQ PRINCESS, respectively.
Apprentice Jerome Innis teamed up with champion trainer Wayne DaCosta for his victories aboard LOVELY DAY in the second and GOLD MINER in the eighth, the Heroes Day Stakes Trophy race.
Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday.