ONE down, one to go.
That was probably what Baskaran Bassawh said after his Perfect Day toyed with the opposition in the second of two $200,000 Grade I events in the penultimate event of a ten-race Independence Day holiday card yesterday at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
Punters considered the Neal & Massy Oaks Stakes a foregone conclusion and sent off the Jamaica 1,000 Guineas winner as the 1/5 favourite in the 1,800-metre contest for West Indian-bred three-year-old fillies.
And Perfect Day, who had convincingly won her only previous start in Trinidad three weeks ago, certainly did not disappoint them as she picked up the running just after the half-way stage and cruised home by 5 ¾ lengths.
Sweet Genius, who had just failed by half-length to catch Always A Princess in the Gleneagle Stakes at the end of June, was forced to settle for the bridesmaid position again, while outsiders Readyforstanley and Soca Train rounded out the top four, respectively.
The “Oaks” is the most prestigious race for West Indian-bred fillies on the local calendar and Perfect Day collected $120,000 for owner Bassawh.
The president of the Racehorse Owners Association will be attempting to win the most prestigious race of the season in three weeks time with his stable star Bigman In Town.
The fourth-placed finisher in the Jamaica Derby made a tremendous splash when he prevailed by 21 lengths in his first start at Santa Rosa a few weeks ago and could be the overwhelming favourite for the $500,000 Trinidad Derby Stakes on Republic Day (September 24).
Headline News, who has subscriptions paid for the Derby, turned in a very impressive performance in the curtain event when he made all the running to crush a bunch of 55-40 rated horses by 6 ¼ lengths as he attempted two turns (1,750 metres) for the first time.
The Ruthven Smith-bred and owned gelding, beaten into second over 1,200 metres by Perfect Day when he returned from an absence of almost nine months on August 10, was scoring for the second time in three career starts.
Headline News is handled by John O’Brien and the champion trainer also saddled Hyat Princess and Lady Felisha to lead his peers.
Neal & Massy Group of Companies sponsored the 29th round of the Arima Race Club’s 2013 Season and seven-time Panorama champions Neal & Massy All Stars entertained the fans during the afternoon.