Saturday, February 24, 2018

Murray expects 1,000 customers on Midsummer Classic day

COLIN MURRAY is expecting close to 1,000 of Carib’s customers to attend races on Indian Arrival Day, May 30, at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, to witness the running of the Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic, second leg of the Triple Crown series, which carries a purse of $450,000.

Murray, Carib Brewery Limited’s sponsorship and events manager, speaking at Thursday’s press conference and draw for the “Midsummer” and Santa Rosa Dash at the Brewery’s hospitality lounge in Champs Fleurs, said they will be using the holiday as their customer appreciation day and inviting 1,200 people.

He expects close to 1,000 of the invitees to attend the day’s racing, with the feature attraction being the Midsummer Classic, for nominated West Indian-bred three-year-olds.

Arima Race Club chief executive officer Chris Armond gave Murray the assurance that he will have eight tellers on duty at the infield pavilion, which Carib is setting up the day, to cater to the invited guests’ betting needs.

 Murray said there will also be entertainment for patrons and from five p.m. Dil-E-Nadan will be performing.

He said everyone journeying to Santa Rosa Park will be taken care of by Carib, as the Brewery will be running specials on their products throughout the day and there will be giveaways.

Murray said the infield pavilion is a “breeding” ground for human interest stories, recalling Santa Rosa Boy’s shock success in the 2009 Easter Guineas—which Carib sponsored that year—at a huge price, when a lady asked a gentleman in the betting line what he liked, and he said a horse trained by John O’Brien and ridden by Brian Harding, and she said she liked Santa Rosa Boy.

“Ma’am, do you know that horse is 99/1?” he asked in a prim and proper manner, and she responded: “I do not care.”

 Santa Rosa Boy, trained by the late Jules Miller, won the Guineas at close to 80/1.

  Murray also stated a gentleman borrowed $10 and won $10,000, and gave the man he borrowed the money from $20.

Those are some of the stories of beginner’s luck at the races that make the day one to remember, Murray stated.

Armond, in his turn, thanked Carib for their continued sponsorship, saying: “Carib Day is a very special day for Trinidad. I am sure they (Carib customers) will enjoy themselves.”

Armond spoke of the reintroduction of the $1 million bonus for the horse winning the Triple Crown—Easter Guineas, Midsummer Classic and Trinidad Derby Stakes—and then the Champion Stakes.

The incentive was started some 14 years ago and at that time the winner of the Triple Crown received $250,000 and an additional $750,000 if the horse went on to win the Champion Stakes, against older West Indian-bred horses.

 Since centralisation at Santa Rosa, only two horses—Carnival Messiah in 2001 and Top of the Class in 2003—have swept the Triple Crown series.

 The Glenn Mendez-trained Top of the Class went on to earn the $1 million bonus by winning all the races.

 This time around, 2014 Easter Guineas hero Momentum will also have to win all four races to earn the $1 million bonus.

 Friday’s card will have a Caribbean flavor with Jamaica’s top jockey Dane Nelson and Shane Ellis flying in to ride at Santa Rosa and they will be joined by Barbadian riders Reshawn Latchman and Antonio Whitehall.