Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Champion jockey Dick Cardenas extended his cup-winning streak at Caymanas Park yesterday, winning the 3-y-o and up open allowance race for the Owen Silvera Memorial Cup over 1600 metres aboard 3-5 favourite COMMANDING CHIEF.
It marked the Panamanian's fourth consecutive feature race win following REASONABLE PRESS at 9-2 in the $1.1 million Seek Exercise Book Back-to-School Trophy on August 25, the 2-y-o COUNTRY TRAIN in the Terremoto Trophy on Wednesday, August 29, and ERASMO in the Kenneth Mattis OD Trophy on Saturday, September 1.
Well away from the number-two post position on this occasion, COMMANDING CHIEF chased and disposed of the early leader CLASSIC BEAU leaving the half mile. And when RAISE A RUCKUS (7-2) under leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths loomed large from early in the straight, COMMANDING CHIEF found extra to beat him by 2 1/2 lengths in a field of 11.
A 4-y-o chestnut gelding by War Marshall out of She Knows Beau, COMMANDING CHIEF, the 2011 St Leger winner, is owned by Doks Stable, trained by Everal Francis, and was bred by Paul Chen. This marked his third win from five starts this season, and his eighth from 14 career starts with lifetime earnings of $6.8 million.
he will rebound
Owner Orrett Wellington said he had no doubt that COMMANDING CHIEF would rebound after a below-par effort as the hot favourite in the Seek Trophy.
"He ruined his chances by missing the break from the number-one post position, and encountered traffic problems as well," he recalled. "But despite the presence of both the winner (Reasonable Press) and runner-up (Go Go Yvonne), I knew things would be different over the longer distance of a mile.
"When he left the gates promptly, I knew it would be a mere formality despite top weight of 57.0kg", said Wellington, who was quick to add that his major objective remains the prestigious Superstakes over 2000 metres in November.
On a day when leading jockey Dane Nelson rode three winners for a second consecutive race day to reach 93, he had to share the spotlight with the new apprentices who rode for the first time, having graduated from the Jockeys' School on August 16.
Three of the 19 youngsters rode their first winners - Kuri Powell being the first to break the ice with a determined ride aboard 7-1 chance YES WE WILL (made most) in the first race, Renardo McNaughton aboard his first ride JAGSOVER (7-2) in the fourth race in which the rookies swept the first three places, and Ruja Lahoe with 3-1 shot STOP A GAP in the sixth, his mount beating the Shane Ellis-ridden favourite SPECIAL REPORT by a nose.