THE two biggest equine stars of last season at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, will have questions to answer today when they make their first appearance of the year at the centralised venue.
Bigman In Town and Crime Of Passion, the winner and runner-up, respectively, in last year’s Horse of the Year battle, will both be attempting turf for the very first time in the Eric “Colt” Durant Memorial, feature attraction of a ten-race card.
It will not be the only new experience for Crime Of Passion as the Stewards Cup winner has never faced the starter over two turns and will also have the additional burden of carrying the top weight of 57 kilos in the 1,700-metre event for three-year-old and over horses.
Trinidad Derby and Caribbean Champion Stakes hero Bigman In Town won three of four staying events in Trinidad last year and the Gold Cup runner-up could secure the $90,000 winners’ cheque with the light impost of 50.5 kilos if he acts on the surface.
The one to beat in the $150,000 affair has to be Nominee, who is unbeaten from two starts on the lawn, including the Champagne Stakes, the only Grade I race run on the inner track last season.
Buffalo Soldier, Red Lace and Wild Shuffle, who placed second, fourth and fifth, respectively, behind Nominee over 1,600 metres on the turf last time out on January 18, have been allotted 51.5 kilos each and they have to be respected in the day’s eighth event at just after 4 p.m.
The field of 12 also includes Gabby’s Gold, but the President’s Cup winner flopped in his only turf outing and will be hard-pressed along with Fly Junior as the 1,100-metre track record is not at his best and should find the trip a little too far anyway.
St James Stakes winner Momentum will attempt to complete a hat-trick and stay unbeaten in the race before, but the Jamaican-bred three-year-old should really be tested as the field for the 1,200-metre contest also contains tough older creoles Loan Shark and Central Square as well as five American-bred three-year-olds.
Newcomer Cat’s Heir, who has been buring up the track at gallops, First Classic runner-up Bergeron Rodeo and Goliath’s Boy are among the imported horses down to face the starter at 3.20 p.m.
Last year’s Derby runner-up War Of Words was declared to compete over 1,750 metres in the penultimate event at 4.40 p.m., but the Easter Guineas and Midsummer Classic winner was scratched yesterday.
Post time for the seventh round of the Arima Race Club’s 2014 Season is 11.30 a.m.