- RICARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
FROMRUSSIAWITHLOVE with Dane Nelson up capturing yesterday's Louis Hitchens Memorial Cup over 1600m at Caymanas Park. It was the seven-year-old geldings fourth consecutive victory.
Orville Clarke, Freelance Writer
THE REIGNING 'Horse of the Year' MIRACLE MAN revived memories of the legendary Legal Light when he won the race run in his honour at Caymanas Park yesterday.
MIRACLE MAN captured the $775,000 graded stakes feature for the Legal Light Trophy over the circular nine course under the crushing impost of 60.5kg, but it was no walk in the park.
Ridden as usual by Florida-based Jamaican jockey Allen Maragh for 'Hall of Fame' trainer Allan 'Billy' Williams and owner Joseph 'Fudgie' Duany, the massive four-year-old chestnut colt by Law Of The Sea out of Hya had to be driven out in the straight to dispose of pesky lightweight DON LIMPIO, who was in receipt of 12.5kg in a field of five.
In the end, MIRACLE MAN, the 2-5 favourite, won by 1 3/4 lengths from the American 4-y-o gelding DON LIMPIO (4-1) under former champion jockey Wesley Henry. The runner-up was 4 1/2 clear of his more fancied stable-companion PITTACUS (9-5) with champion jockey Brian Harding riding for trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes.
Maragh said that although MIRACLE MAN was the "class horse" of the field, he had to work hard for the victory.
"You have to remember that 133lb is a lot of weight and although he looked easy chasing Don Limpio for the first four furlongs of so, when I rode him in earnest to tackle the leader from the half mile, the light horse held him at bay until early in the straight.
"But one thing I admire with MIRACLE MAN is that he relishes a fight. He did it in the Derby and again in the St. Leger when looking in danger of defeat and this horse continues to amaze me", said Maragh.
It was a fitting victory for the island's top horse, in that 'Billy' Williams was the first trainer of LEGAL LIGHT in the late 70s. Under Williams guidance LEGAL LIGHT won the Derby and St. Leger in 1977 before he was aimed at the Caribbean Classic in Puerto Rico towards the end of the year. After the Caribbean Classic, Williams migrated to North American and LEGAL LIGHT was transferred to the stables of Kenneth Mattis who conditioned him to become the outstanding horse of that era.
LEGAL LIGHT built his reputation by carrying big weights to victory. And MIRACLE MAN is beginning to do the same.
Meanwhile, Mattis had a rare winner on the 10-race programme when the odds-on favourite RED LION ran on strongly to win the Cesario Cup for maiden three-year-old colts and geldings over the round five course. The bay colt was ridden by former champion jockey Percy Williams.
Later in the afternoon, a rejuvenated FROMRUSSIAWITHLOVE (9-2) with Dane Nelson aboard held off the 3-5 favourite BLOW WIND BLOW to win the $290,000 $260 claiming race over 1600 metres for the Louis Hitchins Memorial Cup, completing his fourth consecutive win.. And RIZZI LEE (3-5), one of six favourites to score on the card, romped the City of Kingston Centenary Cup (high claming) over 1600 metres with former champion jockey Trevor Simpson riding for trainer George Robb.
Kingston's Mayor Desmond McKenzie was on hand to present the City of Kingston Centenary Cup to Robb on behalf of owner Borris McIntosh.