Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Champion jockey Dane Nelson stole the show at Caymanas Park yesterday with four winners from five rides on the nine-race programme to be joint leader with former champion Omar Walker in the jockeys' standings.
Both have ridden 11 winners from seven racedays so far this year, Walker having notched a four-timer at the midweek meet and followed up with two yesterday.
Nelson, 28, stamped his authority on the proceedings from the very first race, thanks to an armchair ride aboard the classy, unbeaten American 3-y-o colt commander one in the 1100-metre race for imported three-year-olds, winning by 15 lengths in the smart time of 1:05.1.
COMMANDER ONE, who was just as impressive over the same distance on his January 12 debut in stakes record time of 1:04.4, is conditioned by champion trainer Wayne DaCosta for owners Edward Steinman and Von White.
Nelson came back to win the fifth race over the straight aboard 2-1 chance REGION DE NASKRA for trainer Ryan Darby, the sixth aboard stable-companion AUSTIN LUKE (5-2), and rounded off the four-timer with a well-timed run aboard the DaCosta-trained 6-5 favourite CANTARE in the eighth race over 1200 metres for high claimers.
The day's feature (claiming $350,000-$300,000) for the Altamont V. Armond Memorial Cup over 2000 metres provided the 6-5 favourite VONALMIGHTY with a runaway victory. The seven-year-old gelding, who assumed the lead from GENERAL C at the half mile to win by 71/2 lengths, was ridden by Walker for trainer Ian Parsard and owner Raymond Townsend.
VONALMIGHTY was one of six favourites to score, among them odds-on favourites COMMANDER ONE, SPARKLE HAVEN, PISCEAN ROCKET and impressive 3-y-o debutant ROCK UNION in the first four races.
Caymanas Park hosted the Travel Cable Channel film crew from Denver, Colorado, USA, yesterday, along with its popular host. Bert Kreischer of the Trip Flip programme.
A couple from Austin, Texas - Jake and Sara Swenson - accompanied the crew as winners of a dream trip to Jamaica. Caymanas Park was one of the many places they visited on their tour.