Richards impresses with back-to-back wins
VETERAN jockey Gary Richards yesterday completed back-to-back wins aboard Wayne DaCosta's RADICAL, continuing his comeback at Caymanas Park, where he was champion apprentice in 1981 before migrating to continue his career in the United States.
Richards, 52, rode a race exemplifying his vast experience, breaking the four-year-old gelding sharply from an outside draw before throttling him back into fourth position.
Watching from a handy position as 8-5 favourite SOTOMAYOR, UNCLE VINNIE and DILIGENT disputed the lead, Richards made a sweeping move three furlongs out in the mile race for top-level claimers and four-year-olds, non-winners of two races.
RADICAL, a 5-2 chance, streaked to the lead coming off the home turn and raced clear, leaving SOTOMAYOR and rail-running TIMEFORARMS to battle for second place.
Richards, who started riding at Caymanas Park in 1979 and won more than 300 races at Caymanas Park in six years before being derailed by a seven-year ban, marked his comeback on April 15 by winning aboard RADICAL at 1400 metres.
In a recent 'Five Straight' interview in Track and Pools, Richards, who last ride at Caymanas Park 15 years ago, said he was encouraged by friends to return.
"As far as how long I will be staying, it all depends on how things work out for me. Everything looks good right now."
Richards, who has ridden at Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Charles Town, booting home approximately 70 winners, has given DaCosta a crack option to six-time champion jockey Omar Walker in his powerful barn.
Meanwhile, DaCosta, the defending 17-time champion trainer, continues to play catch-up with his perennial rival, Anthony Nunes, who outshone him on the 10-race card with two wins.
Nunes, who started the day leading DaCosta by a little more than $1m in the trainers' title race, landed the sixth and eighth races with APOLLO BAY and METICULOUS, respectively.
Cardenas, who won aboard METICULOUS, was the day's leading rider, opening his account with Richard Azan's AXLE ROD in the fifth.
Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday.