Exotic Gold slams Oaks field
Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Surging into the lead approaching the final bend, EXOTIC GOLD outstayed rivals to win the 73rd running of the Bigga Jamaica Oaks for the Hilma Veira Trophy over 2000 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Installed a 2-1 second favourite, EXOTIC GOLD, ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson for the former champion owner Alexander Haber, won by 31/2 lengths from 3-1 chance PHILISTIA with Paul 'Country'
Finishing third, a further four lengths away, was the 6-5 favourite STAR FLYER, ridden by champion jockey Dick Cardenas for top-line trainer Anthony Nunes.
However, the horse who beat her by a short head in the April 7, 2000 Guineas over 1600 metres - SHE'S TRADITIONAL - ran below expectations under former champion jockey Omar Walker (replacing Trevor Simpson) to finish a well-beaten 10th.
It was the winner's lesser fancied stable-companion ANTOINETTE (9-1) who made most of the running with André Martin aboard. She was tracked early by STAR FLYER and the outsider SHE'S EMMA, followed by EXOTIC GOLD, PHILISTIA and SHE'S TRADITIONAL at the halfway stage.
EXOTIC GOLD was sent in chase of ANTOINETTE leaving the half mile, circled the leader approaching the final bend and after turning for home three lengths clear of PHILISTIA, ANTOINETTE and STAR FLYER, stayed on very strongly, despite drifting out in the straight, for an emphatic victory.
"She was travelling too sweet from the half mile to lose," said an elated Nelson.
"We had a super game plan ... a great game plan going into the race. The plan was to have her close to the pace on this occasion. She just did everything I asked her from the half mile and although drifting out a bit under the leg hand stick a furlong out, I just let her run," added Nelson, who rode two winners on the 'Ladies Day' programme.
DaCosta, who notched up his fourth Oaks winner behind Thornbird (1984), Good Prospect (1999) and Swing By (2006), concurred with much of what was said by Nelson, also disclosing that EXOTIC GOLD will miss the Governor's Cup (Lotto Classic) in another three weeks but will run in the Derby.
A three-year-old grey filly by He'stherealthing out of Formally Gold, EXOTIC GOLD was bred by the Orange Valley Estates Limited and provided Haber with his second Oaks winner behind ALL FOR PLEASURE in 2005.
In keeping with the Ladies Day theme, 15 women of distinction from various fields were honoured by CTL and sponsors Wisynco at the track yesterday, all presented with commemorative plaques.
The 15 were national netball coach Oberon Pitterson, jockey Georgina Sergeon, Special Olympian Sarah Newland-Martin, broadcasters Dorraine Samuels, Fae Ellington, Simone Clarke-Cooper and Jennifer 'Jenny Jenny' Small, Flair editor Barbara Ellington, noted actresses Leonie Forbes, Deon Silvera and Audrey Reid, as well as choreographer Barbara McDaniel, film-maker Justine Henzell, Sharon Burke and Susan Simes, host of The Susan Show.
Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna was present at the track as well.