Thu | Jan 17, 2019

No stopping Poker Star

Published:Saturday | July 21, 2018 | 12:22 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

DESPITE facing open allowance horses for the first time in a year, champion trainer Wayne DaCosta's POKER STAR should have no problem putting away rivals with the handicaps and draw in his favour for this afternoon's open allowance at five furlongs straight. Since returning from a 10-month lay-up in May, the 2015 sprint champion has wasted little time rediscovering his back class, toying with overnight allowance runners at six furlongs on June 16.

After briefly dueling POLLY B, POKER STAR sprinted five lengths clear a furlong out before getting home in 1:13.0 behind splits of 22.3, 46.0 and 58.1, his third race from a 10-month lay-up.

DaCosta has kept POKER STAR on the move at exercise, toning the gelding down somewhat in 1:07.4 for five and a half furlongs last Saturday morning, not like the 1:06.3 he had blasted a week before winning a month ago.

Though he faces open allowance mainstays such as ORPHEUS, ANOTHER BULLET, ZEPHYR and CAMPESINO on his way down from grade one, POKER STAR is getting weight from all but two of his six rivals.

ORPHEUS comes in at 120lb, CAMPESINO tops the scale at 126lb, ZEPHYR carries 118 and ANOTHER BULLET is only three pounds shy of topweight with 123 - all drawn to the inside of POKER STAR, who has 115lb.

With the handicaps to his liking plus a great draw from where Omar Walker can see all his dangers, there should be no stopping six-year-old POKER STAR, who could peak in time for a shot at November's Caribbean Sprint title, which he had won in 2015 as a three-year-old.