Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The American colt BLAST THEM AWAY finally ended the 14-race record winning streak of 'Horse of the Year' SAINT CECELIA, in the three-year-old and up stakes over 1300 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday, 'CECELIA' losing for the first time in over two years.
Having broken WAR ZONE'S all-time record by notching her 13th consecutive win on April 13, the Spencer Chung-trained SAINT CECELIA lost out to old nemesis BLAST THEM AWAY, who she had beaten on the three previous occasions they met.
This time around, BLAST THEM AWAY, in receipt of 7.0kg with Dick Cardenas riding for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, reported in unbeatable shape.
Always prominent as RIO COBRE led from SAINT CECELIA (4-5) under customary rider Shane Ellis. BLAST THEM AWAY, the 2-5 favourite in a field of five, disposed of SAINT CECELIA leaving the furlong pole to beat the outstanding seven-year-old mare by three lengths in a time of 1:18.1.
Winning owner Robert K. Thomas, accompanied by his father Edmund, could both breath a sigh of relief.
Robert declared: "It's now or never. He was working brilliantly in preparation for the race and he won much easier than I anticipated, which is good.
"I pay tribute to SAINT CECELIA for her accomplishments over the years, but it's our time now," he said.
Nelson stole the show
Meanwhile, champion jockey Dane Nelson stole the show with three winners, including a remarkable victory aboard the DaCosta-trained KAL KAL (7-1) in the overnight allowance feature for the Kenneth Mattis OD Trophy over 2000 metres, a race in which the American filly was almost thwarted by faulty gear.
A chance ride for Nelson - replacing the injured Dick Cardenas - KAL KAL, who lost an iron after leaving the starting gate, produced a terrific stretch run to catch the 8-5 favourite UNCLE DONNY under Shane Ellis in the final surge, winning by a head.
Nelson also won the first double aboard 2-5 favourite TRADITIONALIST (who also lost an iron) and 3-2 chance TECHNOCRAT.
Earlier, the two-year-old debutante QUEEN PAULA (5-1) made all in the Winnie Anglin Memorial Cup with 'Hall of Fame' jockey Winston Griffiths riding for owner, trainer and breeder Lorenzo Robinson.