BIGMAN IN TOWN proved to be the star entertainer in the 1,200-metre Carib Beer Santa Rosa Dash on yesterday’s Indian Arrival holiday card at Santa Rosa Park, winning in emphatic fashion in a fast 1:10.73.
The 2013 Horse of the Year, ridden by Prayven Badrie for trainer Harriram ‘Pepsi’ Gobin and owner Baskaran Bassawh, was sent off as the 2/1 second favourite. He scored by 4 1/2 lengths over Readbetweendlines, Crime Of Passion and Signal Alert, in that order, to take the $90,000 first-prize in the day’s seventh race.
A delay of close to ten minutes was caused by Star Entertainer, who had broken loose and then when caught gave trouble to be loaded, before eventually being withdrawn.
The deluge before the start of the race helped the winner’s cause, according to trainer Gobin. He said: ‘‘Bigman is a different horse when it wet.’’ Beaten in both his starts this season, and subsequently switched from previous handler John O’Brien just over amonth ago, the chestnut colt was settled in second early as Intact cut out blistering fractions of 22.22 for the first quarter.
This prompted importation Coroneo to go after him. The pair reached the half-mile in 45.3 with the rest of field at full stretch behind. Coroneo appeared likely to win approaching the hometurn, but did not carry through with his run.
Signal Alert slipped up the inside while evens-favourite Crime Of Passion also appeared on the scene. Meanwhile, Bigman In Town and Readbetweendlines were travelling like freight trains.
Winning jockey Badrie, speaking to the Express, said: “I was forced to shuffle back and almost went back to last. He is a real good horse, he changed gears and flew by them very easily, and I came widest of all, and he won with something in reserve,” said Badrie.
And Bassawh added: “In Jamaica they were saying he is better than Bruceontheloose (winner of the race from 2010/12). I think with his performance today, he has to ranked up there.”
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s leading rider Dane Nelson opened proceedings on the ten-race card with trainer Harold Chadee’s Slewjero, before doubling up with A Great Moment for Chadee in the sixth race.
Young apprentice Joey Reyes had a bright moment turning back Nelson in the fifth race with 60/1 outsider, Rosie Dream, as Nelson finished second astride Star Dreamer.