Tony K equals track record
Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The Lorne Kirlew-trained 4-y-o colt, TALENTED TONY K, turned in an impressive performance at Caymanas Park yesterday, equalling the straight five track record of 56.1 seconds in the overnight allowance feature for three-year-olds and up.
One of three winners for former champion jockey Shane Ellis, TALENTED TONY K, who won both the 2000 Guineas and the Lotto Classic (Governor's Cup) as a three-year-old last season, made all in a field of seven, this as the 1-9 favourite.
He galloped on to the main track some two lengths clear of the chasing SUNLIGHT EXPRESS (5-1) on the far side and FORCE DE JOUR (6-1), then lengthened his strides leaving the quarter pole.
With the track very fast, 'TONY K' was obviously ridden with the record in mind in the closing stages, stopping the clock at 56.1 behind fantastic splits of 21.4 and 43.4.
burning up the track
In winning by 33/4 lengths from 7-1 chance TRADITIONAL PRINCE and FORCE DE JOUR, TALENTED TONY K equalled the track record held jointly by MUSICAL MAESTRO since November 2006 and MINISTEROFJUSTICE in November 2008.
Kirlew said he had anticipated that the speedy 4-y-o colt by champion sire Traditional out of the Law Of The Sea mare Ocean Liner would have won in record time.
"He was burning up the track at exercise in preparation for the race and with the track riding fast of late, the record was a mere formality.
"Tony K is a different horse this year and although he has won as far as 2000 metres in the Governor's Cup and was second to Replampago in last year's derby, his preference is for sprinting and we are looking forward to a clash with Boy Wonder in the weeks ahead," said Kirlew, who was quick to add that TALENTED TONY K will now be prepared for an open allowance race in the second half of February.
In addition to TALENTED TONY K, Ellis won aboard the 3-y-o debutant BLESSEDNESS (2-1) for trainer Ryan Darby in the third race for maidens, and evens favourite LADY SHANKARI for trainer Howard Jaghai in the ninth race over the straight to be joint leader with Robert Halledeen in the jockeys' championship on eight winners.
Halledeen rode two winners, both for his Guv'nor, champion trainer Wayne DaCosta and owner/breeder Winston Kong. These were classic aspirant ALI BABA at 1-5 in the second race over 1500 metres, and the 4-y-o colt MAKE MY DAY (6-5), who made a winning debut in the seventh race over the straight.
ALI BABA, who chased home ALACRANN in the $4.25-million Jamaica 2-Y-O Stakes over a mile last Boxing Day, disposed of his front-running stable-companion SEEKING MY DREAM leaving the furlong pole for a fast-time (1:31:1) win.
On a day when Caymanas Track Limited and the Jamaica Racing Commission hosted a health fair in the official car park, there were two notable upsets on the 11-race programme. TWO STEPS UP won at 46-1 following the disqualification of first-past-the-post STEVE'S REAL (21-1) in the sixth race over the round five course, and GREEN BERET at 26-1 for trainer Steven Todd in the fourth over 1300 metres.