CENTRAL SQUARE turned in the most impressive performance of the afternoon yesterday when horse racing continued with the 31st round of the Arima Race Club’s (ARC) 2013 Season at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
The John O’Brien-trained three-year-old made all the running in the hands of last year’s champion apprentice Dillon Khelawan to win the penultimate event of an eight-race card by five lengths. Painted Buddha, who turned for home less than two lengths adrift of the eventual winner, was forced to settle for the runner-up spot for the fourth time in succession, while favourite The Tactician ended up two lengths back in third in the 1,250-metre contest for 60-45 rated horses.
Central Square, a winner by seven lengths on debut last December, was scoring for the third time in six career outings for the York Stables.
Earlier, fellow West Indian-bred three-year-old Goodwill Boy, the fourth-placed finisher in the Midsummer Classic at the end of May, overhauled long shot Curfew Breaker in the closing stages and went on to win the 1,350-metre contest for 70-55 rated horses by 2 ½ lengths.
Sam’s Hero, the 2010 “Midsummer” winner, was third in the day’s second event, one of four billed for the turf course but switched to the main course because of overnight and early-morning showers.
Two races later in another event switched off the turf, Harry Could Dance stepped up in class and whipped the 80-50 rated horses by two lengths over 1,100 metres. After disappointing in his last three starts, First Sprint winner Key Chain finished second, while turf specialist Joezel closed well to place third.
Iconic, bred and owned by Kenwyn Ojeer, former chief executive officer of the ARC, produced an upset for the second time in succession in the sixth.
Sent off at odds of 9/1, the Harriram Gobin-trained three-year-old made all the running to take the 1,300-metre contest for horses rated 45 & lower by 1 ¾ lengths with apprentice Nigel Flavenney in the irons.
Odds-on favourite Classic Material was putting in her best work in the closing stages but could only finish second, while Soca Train, who had placed fourth in the Oaks Stakes on Independence Day (August 31), missed the break and was ended up eighth of the 12 runners.
After not coming close to finishing on the board in his first six career starts, Iconic is now two for two as he had beaten a bunch of West Indian-bred three-year-old maidens at odds of 25/1 last time out on August 17.
Van Percy, with Ryan Thomas up, also prevailed for the second straight time when he defeated the 40 & lower rated horses by two lengths over 1,750 metres in the third.
The gelding is handled by Lester Alexis, who was the day’s leading trainer as fzvourite Pacman, partnered by Venezuelan Wilmer Galviz, trounced a bunch of 55-40 rated horses by 4 ½ lengths over the same distance in the curtain event.
Racing continues at Santa Rosa Park next week Tuesday when the Republic Day holiday card will feature the $500,000 Trinidad Derby Stakes, the most prestigious race on the local calendar and the final leg of the triple crown.