THE TOP weighted horses—Boogie Blues (58 kilos) and Just Call Me Roger (57 kilos)—in today's eight-horse event for horses rated 85 and over, look opposable despite their present and back form. And a young improving creole, Galveston, fourth in the Independence Cup in his first attempt on the turf, will be the afternoon's topic of conversation after the race.
This 1,750-metre feature at Santa Rosa Park, Arima showcases the country's best turf horse, Just Call Me Roger, against the recently crowned 2011 top imported stayer, Boogie Blues, recent Presidents Cup winner, Strikes Not Spares, and leading older creole Galveston, a chestnut son of A Great Team/Firestorm. This event could be the quiet before the Derby Day—September 24—storm.
The only billing missing for this race is Graded status, yet it has attracted a star-studded field that includes Woodbine shipper, Silverleo, Jamaica-bred Esquire, along with the 2010 Midsummer Classic winner, Sam's Hero, and Lang Amour, a half-brother to Gold Cup winner, Cactus Amour.
Nobel Abrego and Just Call Me Roger, fresh from their success in the 1,800-metre Independence Cup on the turf, might be bypassed as "Roger" reverts to the main track. On his back form last year when Boogie Blues smashed the 1,750 metres record (1.46.3), Just Call Me Roger finished second, beaten two lengths. If he reproduces that form, both horses could bring the crowd to their feet.
Their respective top weights could be their handicap, and the horses that have the scale tilted in their favour are Silverleo and Galveston. While horses do not run with time, but horses, Galveston, on his recorded time over 1,750 metres, has been exceptional when compared to Silverleo, Strikes Not Spares and even Boogie Blues.
When the case for Galveston is argued, the jury's verdict will be unanimous. On April 9, Galveston won over 1,750 metres in a very fast 1:50.3, scoring by five lengths from Secret American. He also blew away Silverleo on April 28 this year over 1,800 metres in a time of 1:53—similar to the times turned in by Montejo and Strikes Not Spares in the ARC Cup on February 25.
Silverleo's solitary success since being shipped from Woodbine last year was recorded on August 18, beating Golden Dixieland. On Monday he worked exceptionally well with Derby favourite Onetokeep, and is looking to the winner's enclosure, but Galveston, who looked exceptionally good yesterday passing the veterinary inspection, will be tough to topple. Opposing him is like heading into an agricultural shop and asking for a coke.
Galveston should score from Strikes Not Spares, who accounted for Bruceontheloose and Montejo in the Presidents Cup. On Sunday last, he worked with Golden Dixieland, and looked stronger in the end, suggesting he is back to his best form. They should be followed home by Silverleo and Boogie Blues.
The supporting event—race five for horses rated 90-70 over 1,300 metres—brings out recently crowned champion three-year-old filly, B's Passion, who will be having her first run since being crowned at the Jetsam Awards ceremony, at Santa Rosa Park, last month. Her last run was an unplaced finish on July 21, behind stablemate Youaresobad. She comes up against the well regarded Golden Dixieland, who drops back to sprinting.
While Golden Dixieland, son of Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, is bred for two turns, his best races have been over the extended sprint distances, and this could be the tonic for his confidence. He should score from Loan Shark, who was very unlucky in his race behind Nakita and should make amends here. However, look no further than Golden Dixieland.
Post time for the day's opener on the eight-race card is one p.m.