Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Former champion jockey Dick Cardenas highlighted Saturday's 10-race programme at Caymanas Park with three winners, to move closer to the 50 mark this season.
The Panamanian jockey, who was champion in 2011, booted home 8-5 chance MR LUVAL for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta in the third race over 1700 metres, FUNNY SIDE at 6-1 for trainer Cleveland Mitchell in the sixth and 3-5 favourite MAN ALIVE (a chance ride) for trainer Richard Azan in the closing Track Price Plus Dig Out Handicap over 1200 metres.
MAN ALIVE made all under topweight of 57 kg to win by 31/4 lengths from 13-1 chance ALLA-DEN'S GOLD, who chased him relentlessly. But while the lightly raced, but improving colt provided Cardenas with an armchair ride, the in-form jockey had to work overtime aboard MR LUVAL and FUNNY SIDE, both of whom won in driving finishes.
MR LUVAL rallied strongly on the inside to beat the favourite ZACAPA by a neck, while FUNNY SIDE produced a devastating last-furlong run widest of all to nail SPIC N SPAN and the favourite SPLITTING IMAGE in deep stretch.
With this windfall Cardenas, who came in as a late substitute for champion jockey Dane Nelson aboard MAN ALIVE, pushed his season's tally to 47. This puts him a clear third in the standings behind tearaway leader Omar Walker (73) and Nelson (58).
happy with form
Cardenas concedes that winning a second championship looks a tall order with over four months of the season remaining, but despite this was happy with his form.
"Thanks to my agent, I've been getting some good rides and my aim is to ride another 30 or 40 winners in the remaining months," said Cardenas, who first rode at Caymanas Park in 2008.
Meanwhile, the Gary Subratie-trained PRINCE THEO (Walker up) ran on strongly along the rails midway the last furlong to win the Oswald 'Ossie' Steele Memorial Cup by half a length in a driving finish from Cardenas' mount AQUAMOTO (9-2) and MERU (3-1).
Racing continues at Caymanas Park next weekend with back-to-back meets on Saturday, August 24 and Sunday the 25th. The $1-million Seek Back to School Trophy race will be run on Saturday.