CAPE CANAVERAL, ridden by Ricardo Jadoo, ended General JN’s quest for the coveted Triple Crown with a well-timed burst of speed, on the final straight, to win the Carib Brewery Trinidad Derby, for West Indies-bred three-year-olds, at the Santa Rosa Park, Arima yesterday.
This race was one of two main attractions on the Arima Race Club (ARC) Race Day 30 programme.
Under glorious sunshine, General JN, winner of the Easter Guineas and Midsummer Classic, went out of the blocks early and held firm, with Warmonger, with Rico Hernandez aboard, in close pursuit.
As the tempo increased, Warmonger relinquished second spot to Cape Canaveral, who kept within touching distance of the odds-on favourite General JN, who was ridden by Kerron Khelawan.
General JN and Cape Canaveral pushed ahead of the chasing pack, but Cape Canaveral had one more trick up his sleeve, as he changed gears dramatically, in the final furlong, to claim victory in two minutes 9.09 seconds.
General JN had to be content with second spot, followed by Streaking Far, Warmonger, River Secret and Blazing Gem.
Cape Canaveral’s trainer, Glenn Mendez, admitted, “I don’t ever get nervous, but I wasn’t confident because we’ve had issues with this horse. He cracked some ribs about six weeks ago, so it was touch-and-go, whether he’d be ready enough to do himself justice.
“Having regards to all that, he came through and he did it,” Mendez continued. “He has to be a special horse to do what he did (yesterday).”
Asked about the feedback he got from his rivals in the racing fraternity, Mendez, who notched his fourth Derby win, replied, “Like in everything else, you have your supporters, you have your detractors. It don’t matter any which way for me. I have my friends and I have my supporters.” The other keenly-anticipated race, the Carib Brand Diamond Stakes, was a closely-fought affair with Princess Suri getting the better of Rocket Wheels to cop the title.
Rocket Wheels, with Ronald Ali aboard, had the early say in proceedings, but was quickly overtaken by Nuclear Power, who was ridden by Yosenyer Serrano.
Both horses were neck-and-neck, with Rocket Wheels reclaiming the advantage entering the final bend, as Nuclear Power started to drop off the pace.
Princess Suri, from the outside, decided to make her move and got past Rocket Wheels, in the final furlong, to cross the finish line in one minute 21.97 seconds. Rocket Wheels and Nuclear Power were second and third respectively. Princess Suri’s trainer Shaffique Khan said he felt elated about his horse’s success. “I think it’s an answer to all the work that we did,” said Khan.
About Princess Suri’s late surge, Khan commented, “She’s definitely a stayer and she stayed better than all the other horses. So we’re looking forward to the Gold Cup.”
Race Day 31 is scheduled for October 6.