Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The brilliant unbeaten filly PRINCESS POPSTAR created history at Caymanas Park yesterday, becoming the first two-year-old to win all three races in the $10.8 million Supreme Ventures Triple Crown Series for native bred two-year-olds.
This was achieved with another runaway victory in the 102nd running of the $4.25 million Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over 1600 metres, the final leg of the series.
Installed a howling 1-9 favourite with leading all-time jockey Winston 'Fanna' Griffiths riding for 14-time champion trainer Philip Feanny and co-owners Paul Hoo and Herbie Chong (2 Penyu), PRINCESS POPSTAR overcame a minor injury to her left hindleg at the start to win by 5 1/2 lengths from lesser fancied stable-companion ROCKETMAN (4-1), under returning champion jockey Dane Nelson, in a field of nine.
Despite becoming the first horse to sweep the SVL-sponsored series since it started in 2005, PRINCESS POPSTAR was not eligible to claim the million-dollar bonus offered annually by SVL to any two-year-old good enough to accomplish the feat. Reason being she was not purchased in last year's TOBA yearling sales, a criteria for eligibility.
According to Feanny, PRINCESS POPSTAR not only kicked the back of her starting gate after being loaded, but lost a shoe in the process. Despite this, she disputed the early lead with the outsiders THEKIDISNOTMYSON and QUEEN PAULA before cruising into the clear approaching the half mile after which the issue was never in doubt. INSANE BOLT was declared a late non-starter at the gate, reducing the field to nine.
PRINCESS POPSTAR, who was notching her fourth win from as many starts and $6.3 million in stakes, is a bay filly by Adore The Groom out of Docs' Paladin, which makes her a half sister to the 2012 Derby and 2013 Superstakes winner TYPEWRITER.
HELL OF A HORSE
Griffiths said he had no doubt that 'Popstar' would win:
"She's a hell of a horse", declared the five-time champion and Hall of Fame jockey, who has won more classics and important races than any other jockey in the history of local racing.
"She is one of the best, if not the best two-year-old I have ridden in over 35 years in the saddle. What's more, she has tremendous scope, and we have yet to see the best of her, despite winning her four races in fast times," he said.
PRINCESS POPSTAR had previously won the $2.95 million Cash Pot 'Only One For Me' Trophy over 1200 in stakes record time of 1:10.4 and the $3.6 million Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy over 1400 metres, equalling the stakes record time of 1:25.1
Earlier in the afternoon, SWEET TRAIL (2-1) made all to win the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup supporting feature (grade one) by 13 1/2 lengths from 2-5 favourite COMMANDING CHIEF to give jockey Dick Cardenas one of four winners on the holiday card, and one of three for trainer Patrick Chang. The 5-y-o mare provided owner Watson with one of four winners, enabling him to dispose of long-time leader W.B. Racing (Wilbert Bagwandeen) and win the owners' championship for the first time.