Latin King set to rule
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The popular CTL Claiming Series ($250,000-$210,000) continues at Caymanas Park today, with race No. 4 over 1400 metres, to be contested by 10 starters.
The annual racing calendar facilitates two series (one race per month), the first from January to June and the second from July to December. Both offer lucrative cash incentives to the winning owner, trainer, jockey and groom at the end of each six-month period.
The field for today's race includes some very fit horses, among them LATIN KING, who romped the second race in the series over 1600 metres on February 27, as well as the recent winners SAMBA DANCER, LA'S DANCER, DUST ROCK and CASH PAT.
MISS TIMS, who led for a long way on her recent appearance, along with the steadily improving FRENCH ROGUE and the late-kicking SPECIAL CAT, who will not find the distance too sharp, should also prove competitive.
LATIN KING versus LA'S DANCER
Despite the presence of so many fit horses, it will more than likely come down to LATIN KING and LA'S DANCER, both of whom are basically better at this level when fit and well.
LA'S DANCER, who was a narrow winner over 1600 metres on March 24 when lowering his sights significantly to $210,000, reports in good nick with Oneil Mullings riding from the convenient mark of 52kg.
Although having changed hands since his last race (claimed), the six-year-old son of Royal Minister-Lady Anandi, who now takes orders from Robert Darby Sr, will only go down fighting with the distance just perfect.
Preference, however, is for the Barry Dawes-trained LATIN KING, the mount of champion jockey Omar Walker. On the strength of his 9 1/2-length demolition of this class in the series two months ago, LATIN KING, now dropped in class, looks the right choice.
On that occasion, he slammed MISS ATLANTIC STAR and NATURAL HEART, both subsequent winners.
LATIN KING beat NATURAL HEART by almost 10 lengths into third place that day and the latter was beaten a mere half a length by LA'S DANCER in a subsequent race on March 24, before winning after that.
Back to winning ways
Using NATURAL HEART as the yardstick, there is a clear case to be made for LATIN KING, who was not disgraced on a $350,000 claiming tag last time out when finishing 6 1/2 lengths fifth (prominent) to FULL FARE over 1500 metres.
With less to do in present company, LATIN KING, now well drawn on the outside, should resume winning ways at the expense of LA'S DANCER, CASH PAT and SPECIAL CAT.
Other firm fancies on the 10-race card are ESQUIRE to win the first race over 1820 metres; JEOPARDY in the second; ROYAL BLAST in the third; MAGDALA in the sixth; COMMANDER ZERO in the ninth; and JUNIOR MINISTER in the night pan.