Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Last year's Lotto Classic (Governor's Cup) winner, LIFEIS-JUSFORLIVING, made a triumphant return to Caymanas Park yesterday, returning from a seven-month absence to win the closing Alex's Imports 'Dig Out' Handicap overnight allowance race over the straight-five course, in decisive fashion.
Installed a 1-4 favourite with champion jockey Omar Walker riding for his guv'nor, champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, 'LIFE' won by three lengths from 7-2 second favourite, SUPER DAVE, who in turn finished a similar margin ahead of the winner's lesser-fancied stable companion, NEW KINGSTON, in a field of 15 for three-year-old and upwards.
It was basically a two-horse race between the fastest in the field, as LIFEISJUSFORLIVING racing on the far side, was ridden to dispute the lead with SUPER DAVE running in mid-track. Both galloped on to the main track on level terms, but with Walker throwing the works at LIFEISJUSFORLIVING at this stage, the 4-y-o chestnut gelding by Region Of Merit out of Bold Queen soon lengthened his strides to win in the smart time of 57.1.
Owned by Church Pen Farm and bred by Orange Valley Estates Limited, LIFEISJUSFORLIVING, who won five races as a three-year-old last season for impressive stakes of $6.8 million, has now won six races lifetime and over $7.2 million in total stakes.
Meanwhile, the highly-strung IVAN THE TERRIBLE, who is plagued by an acute gate problem - characterised by him whipping around at the start of his races - reported on his best behaviour to win the circular nine feature for the Mortimer 'Morty' Heron Memorial Cup (claiming $250,000-$230,000) by two lengths from MYRTLE WAY (22-1) and 3-1 chance SHARRUKIN.
IVAN THE TERRIBLE, offering odds of 5-2 with Larris Allen aboard, tracked the favourite WISE FIT and SHARRUKIN before mounting his challenge at the final bend, coming away to give trainer Arnold Rambally Jr a long overdue winner.
"This horse is much better than this level of racing but, because of his bad habit at the start, it was touch and go whether he would jump," said Rambally.