Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Fleet-footed EMERGENCE looks all set to lead rivals on a merry chase in the annual renewal of the Millard Ziadie Cup (claiming $350,000-$300,000) race over 1100 metres at Caymanas Park today.
The race is run in honour of a member of the famous Ziadie racing family, who was champion trainer of Jamaica for five consecutive years from 1946 to 1950.
Millard Ziadie left Jamaica in the 50s and quickly established himself as one of the top trainers in Venezuela, where he won the championship a number of times. He was one of the first inductees to the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred Racing in Jamaica when it was established in 1980 by the Jamaica Racing Commission.
EMERGENCE will match strides with last year's winner SOCA PARTY, recent winner CANDACE, THE GUARDIAN and MAYBE I SAY SO, who notched her last win over this trip in October.
But EMERGENCE, who beat all barring THE GUMMER over 1200 metres a month ago on a $550,000 claiming tag, has most appeal.
For one, she should prove the fastest of all. And now dropped in class with only 53.0kg and four-time champion Omar Walker aboard, the 6-y-o mare from the stables of Victor Williams should not be caught in this quick sprint.
Although notching her last win over 1200 metres in fine style on September 29, EMERGENCE has become a model of consistency, finishing second in her last two races to out-of-class horses THE GUMMER and MINISTEROFJUSTICE.
She will be chased by the likes of CANDACE, WHAT DO U EXPECT and LOVETTA JONES, but none seem good enough to get on terms in the closing stages.
In the battle for second, CANDACE, THE GUARDIAN, SOCA PARTY and MAYBE I SAY SO should have an interesting tussle, with the lightly raced CANDACE, from the Owen Sharpe stables, looking the most likely exacta horse.
Elsewhere on the programme, 12-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta has four starters lined up for the third race over 1100 metres for imported maiden three-year-olds and up, including the highly thought of debutant COMMANDER ONE, with champion jockey Dane Nelson aboard.
DaCosta also saddles fellow debutant DR BLAIR with EXCLUSIVE PRINCE and LADY CELTIC. But his American 3-y-o colt, COMMANDER ONE, has been moving so impressively at exercise in recent months - galloping five furlongs on the round course in a fast 59.3 - that he should get off the mark immediately.
I also like NOBODY BUT ME to win the opening race over 1500 metres for maiden three-year-olds ahead of the front-running GOODWILL BOY, RUNJOHNNY RUN to make all in the fifth, JESSE JAMES in the sixth and GENERAL C ahead of AWESOME MARQUE and MUCHO GUSTO in the closing Track Price Plus Dig Out Handicap over 1400 metres.