Trainer Richard Azan is known as the Superstakes trainer at Caymanas Park, having won the prestigious mile-and-quarter race (invitational) a record eight times. He first won it in 1995 with DORVAL, then followed up with four consecutive wins with MENUDO from 1999 to 2002, before rounding off with three consecutive wins with Triple Crown winner MARK MY WORD from 2010 to 2012.
I believe that all the wins were important, but the victory of DORVAL was special in more ways than one.
Being the first, it was an unforgettable experience for me as both owner and trainer.
I must admit, getting to that point took a lot of hard work and dedication to keep him focused. Early in his three-year-old career, DORVAL did not set the track ablaze, but he improved steadily as the season progressed and won the Governor's Cup at long odds.
He proceeded to win the derby with Neville Anderson aboard. From then on, the Superstakes became his major objective.
I knew he had the class to win and the hope was that he remained healthy for the race which was run in November of that year.
I trained him to run 10 furlongs and, by and large,, his preparation was on cue leading up to the race.
It was left up to the legendary jockey George HoSang to do the rest, as DORVAL covered the Superstakes distance in the good time of 2:06.2 and was named Horse of the Year.