Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The 2-1 chance MAKIN BOP went wire to wire at Caymanas Park yesterday, staving off the fast-finishing ROCKETEER by 11/2 lengths to win the Flossie McNeil Memorial Cup over 1200 metres, this for native bred three-year-old fillies and mares.
Ridden by four-time champion jockey Omar Walker for trainer Gary Subratie and leading owner Michros, MAKIN BOP was smartly away from the number three post position and proceeded to lead from PRETTY EYES SANAA (5-1) and SLAM EAGLE (22-1) in a field of 14 (non winners of two).
She turned for home some two lengths clear of PRETTY EYES SANAA, SLAM EAGLE and 8-5 favourite MEROVINGIAN QUEEN, then found extra under a bustling ride to past the furlong pole three lengths clear. She kept on well to hold fellow 2-1 chance ROCKETEER (outpaced) at bay in deep stretch, as the 99-1 outsider SOVEREIGN OVER ALL came from nowhere to snatch third, four lengths away.
A bay filly by Bop out of Makin Me Proud, MAKIN BOP was bred by her owner, Michros (Michael Bernard). This was her second win from 13 starts, both at 1200 metres.
Subratie saddled a second winner on the card in the lightly raced American three-year-old filly LUMINOUS TRIESTE under champion jockey Dick Cardenas in the fifth race over 1100 metres for native and imported three-year-olds.
After taking over the lead entering the straight, LUMINOUS TRIESTE had to be driven out to win by a head from the fast-finishing American filly DOUBLE BUTTON (12-1) with Walker aboard.
Subratie failed in his bid for a three-timer, when his highly thought of American filly NOON IT IS (Walker up) failed to defy topweight of 57.0kg in the open allowance sprint, going under to the fast-finishing PALACE GOLD (3-1) by 11/4 lengths. MR SKILL (7-2) led at a fast clip as usual, but gave way to the ever-present NOON IT IS on entering the straight. And she in turn succumbed to the lightweight PALACE GOLD with Paul 'Country' Francis riding for trainer Howard Jaghai and owners W.B. Racing.
Also notching two winners were jockeys Cardenas (Luminous Trieste, Pegasus) and Shane Ellis (Champion Links at 11-1, Saragossa), while Romario Saunders notched his first career aboard 3-2 favourite WINGS OF FURY for trainer Gary Griffiths in the Apprentice race.
Saunders, 18, is a past student of Calabar High and the grandson of retired jockey Keith Saunders.