Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
DEO VOLENTE, running at odds of 3-1 with leading jockey Dane Nelson aboard, outfinished long-time leader PRIESTKING to win the annual renewal of the Thoroughbred, Owners & Breeders' Association of Jamaica Trophy (TOBA) over 1400 metres, feature event at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Conditioned by champion trainer Wayne DaCosta for his wife Elizabeth, the lightly raced 3-y-o gelding by War Marshall out of Did We Win was administered Lasix for the first time in preparation for this trophy and notched up his second win from only four starts.
DEO VOLENTE raced prominently from soon after the start as PRIESTKING (15-1) made most from JARREAU and the 99-1 outsider MILITARY MOVE in a field of 13 native-bred three-year-olds.
PRIESTKING turned for home full of running, but by then DEO VOLENTE was beginning to find his best stride on the rails. He mounted his challenge inside approaching the distance and went by PRIESTKING leaving the furlong pole for a decisive win.
MILITARY MOVE ran above himself to finish 51/4 lengths third, while the even-money favourite RAGING PROSPECT was not the best away from his unfavourable draw at post position one. He got bogged down on the inside and finished a disappointing ninth.
Nelson and DaCosta teamed up for another winner on the card in 3-2 favourite GALACTUS. Owned by the Terriible Tout, the sparingly raced 4-y-o gelding made all, but had to be hard driven in the closing stages to hold the fast-finishing ALIAS SIR CAT (12-1) at bay by half a length.
In the riding department, Nelson and champion jockey Dick Cardenas, who also rode two winners, were upstaged by Paul 'Country' Francis, who twirled a three-timer on the 10-race programme.
His winners were 6-5 favourite HERMOSO AMIGO, who romped the second race for veteran trainer Noel Ennevor, NYABINGHI at 7-2 for trainer Peter McMaster in the 1820 metres race for overnight allowance horses, and 3-2 favourite REAL MINISTER for trainer Colin Ferguson in the eighth over the straight-five course.
Nelson pushed his season's tally to 80 - 22 clear of Cardenas, who won aboard the Harry Parsard-trained COUNTRY TRAIN at 8-5 in the two-year-old race, and Gary Subratie's AWSOME CAMILLE, who made all as the 1-4 favourite in the fifth race for native and imported three-year-olds over the straight.
With his latest windfall, Francis is fifth in the standings with 29 wins - behind Nelson, Cardenas, four-time champion Omar Walker (47) and Shane Ellis (46).