Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
EXOTIC GOLD turned the tables on her recent conqueror TRINITHETUTOR to win the 21st running of the $1.3 million Thornbird Stakes over 1400 metres for native bred three-year-old fillies at Caymanas Park yesterday to send her stocks soaring for the April 7 1000 Guineas.
Ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta and former champion owner Alexander Haber, EXOTIC GOLD, the 5-2 second favourite, went by the previously unbeaten TRINITHETUTOR (1-4 favourite) under four-time champion Omar Walker, midway the last furlong to beat her by 11/2 lengths in a field of eight.
There was a 15-minute delay to the start owing to the presence of a stray dog running around on the infield, much to the disgust of turfites.
When the starter let them go, it was the winner's lesser fancied stable-companion TANTALOO (20-1) who led at a fast clip from SHE'S TRADITIONAL (25-1), TRINITHETUTOR and EXOTIC GOLD.
No time wasted
With SHE'S TRADITIONAL going through leaving the half mile, Walker wasted no time in sending 'TRINI' in chase and she assumed the lead on the outside entering the straight. By then, EXOTIC GOLD was finding her best stride to straighten some 21/2 lengths third and under a bustling ride from Nelson, wore down the hard-ridden TRINITHETUTOR leaving the furlong pole for a decisive win.
She thus gained sweet revenge over the Gary Subratie-trained TRINITHETUTOR, who beat her into second place by 41/2 lengths when they previously met over 1200 metres in the Hot Line Stakes on February 18. But DaCosta saw things differently on this occasion.
"Basically we had everything going for us today and capitalised on that. She met Trinithetutor on 2.0kg better terms and was going an additional furlong as well.
"More importantly, we secured a perfect draw on the outside at post position eight and things just fell into place," said the 11-time champion trainer, who leads the current standings with 13 wins and close to $8 million in stakes.
This was EXOTIC GOLD's second win from nine career starts with stakes of $2.3 million. She's a grey filly by He'stherealthing out of Formally Gold, bred by the Orange Valley Estates Limited.
The trophy was presented to DaCosta by Matthew Foxton-Duffy, sales and marketing manager of the Royal Windsor racetrack (near London) in England, who is in Jamaica for discussions on the twinning of Windsor and Caymanas Park racetracks.
EXOTIC GOLD was the only winner for Nelson on the card, as champion jockey Dick Cardenas has begun to make significant inroads into his lead. Yesterday, Cardenas followed up his three-timer on Wednesday with four winners to move to 21 - four adrift of Nelson.
One of his winners, POCKET ACE (4-1), actually passed the post second in the fifth race, but was awarded first place on the disqualification of 6-5 favourite FIRST 'K' BOY.