Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The stewards struck in yesterday's Caymanas Park feature for the Hi-Pro Equi-Pro Trophy over 1,300 metres for maiden two-year-olds, disqualifying first past the post ALSO CORRECT and awarding the race to 6-1 chance BIG BAD LINKS.
Both horses were engaged in a neck and neck duel over the last furlong, with the 9-5 second-favourite ALSO CORRECT, ridden by Dick Cardenas, prevailing by a neck over the Andrew McDonald-trained BIG BAD LINKS under leading jockey Omar Walker, ahead of the howling 1-4 favourite TALENTED TONY K (made most) in third.
However, following a stewards' inquiry and jockey's objection by Walker against Cardenas as well, ALSO CORRECT, from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, was disqualified and placed second and BIG BAD LINKS promoted to first.
Cardenas was penalised for interference and intimidatory riding by the stewards over the last 200 metres, denying him a three-timer on the holiday programme.
Cardenas had previously won aboard 5-2 choice GOLD TOP for trainer Nicholas Edwards in the annual round five race for the Norman Manley Memorial Cup and 8-5 chance RUM PUNCH for DaCosta in the $1 million Ace Supercentre Trophy over 1820 metres for overnight allowance horses.
The disqualification of ALSO CORRECT provided a bittersweet day for 12-time champion trainer DaCosta, who was conferred with the national honour, the Order of Distinction (OD), for his contribution to horse racing at a civic ceremony in the morning at King's House.
RUM PUNCH, meanwhile, booked himself a place in the Superstakes field with a smooth victory over the 2009 Superstakes winner, HOMBRE, in the Ace Supercentre Trophy contested by nine starters.
Always prominent as HOMBRE (7-2) made most, RUM PUNCH mounted his challenge early in the straight, disposing of HOMBRE a furlong out to beat him by 2 1/2 lengths with 4-5 favourite UNCLE DONNY another short head away.
After going winless for four-consecutive race meets - enabling champion jockey Dane Nelson to cut his lead to three in the jockeys' championship - Walker came alive with two winners on the card in the Ian Lodge-owned BIG BAD LINKS and the 4-y-o debutante MOON SHADOW at 9-5 in the fourth race for maidens over the straight.
He thus moved to 86 wins, pulling five clear of Nelson who failed to ride a winner on the card following a three-timer on Saturday. Cardenas and Richard 'Biah' Mitchell also rode two winners.