'This one's for Dad' - Subratie strikes In father's memorial
GARY Subratie pulled off a 4-1 coup with United States-bred SARATOGA SIGHT, landing yesterday's feature, the Errol 'Big Sub' Subratie, run over a mile, honouring his late father's memory.
Subratie, who was moved to tears when he won the inaugural running in 2016 with another American, BLUE DIXIE, prepared SARATOGA SIGHT specifically with his father's memorial in mind.
Racing for the fourth time after debuting locally mid-August, SARATOGA SIGHT, a former New York-based claiming miler, who, in 2016, won once at Aqueduct and was twice second at Belmont, benefitted from conditions, which allowed him to shed 16lb in three races, entering the overnight allowance event with a featherweight 50.0 kilos.
After showing glimpses of his ability last time out, racing wide on the home turn, at odds of 18-1, finishing fifth, seven and three-quarter lengths behind fast-as-lightning PATRIARCH at six furlongs, SARATOGA SIGHT landed the gamble in the race that mattered, clocking 1:39.0 for the mile.
Breaking smartly from post-position two, the five-year-old American horse showed his class by duelling BRUCE WAYNE down the backstretch.
The pair fended off challenges from SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS and ROYAL VIBES, who attacked three-wide, three-and-a-half furlongs out, but found the two leaders resolute entering the straight.
BRUCE WAYNE quickened and poked his head in front a furlong and a half out, seemingly getting the better of SARATOGA SIGHT, but the American rallied strongly against the rail when roused by Dane Dawkins with a half-furlong to run, regaining the lead to win a three-way photo finish by a short head over BIRDIE MY LOVE, who came with a strong last-furlong run in mid-track.
ROYAL VIBES finished third, a neck away, with Anthony Thomas, denied a fourth winner on the 10-race card in his bid to put daylight between himself and Panamanian Dick Cardenas in their battle atop the jockeys' championship.
The Thomas-Cardenas showdown started the day with the Panamanian facing a deficit of eight winners, overshadowed new apprentice Christopher Mamdeen's three-timer as the duelling leaders took their fight down to the final race on the programme.
Cardenas, aboard Anthony Nunes 5-2 chance, DIOSA DE ORO, held off a late charge from Thomas astride Gary Griffiths' NIGHT LIGHT to register his lone winner of the day, cutting his rival's lead to 10 after falling 11 behind earlier in the afternoon.
Cardenas' victory with DIOSA DE ORO also ignited the trainers' battle between Nunes and champion Wayne DaCosta, who won back-to-back races with LADY BLUE and WINTER IS COMING, Thomas and Mamdeen respectively, extending his $1.2m lead, before his perennial rival struck in the night pan to remind of his intentions.
With 13 racemeets spread between November 3 and December 29, the respective championships - trainers, jockeys and owners - are set for thrilling finishes, beginning this Saturday, the first meet of the new month.