WITH the sun shining for the first time for the afternoon, Toro Rosso comfortably handed Woden his very first two-turn defeat when horse racing continued yesterday at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
The American-bred five-year-old, with Venezuelan Jonathan Mancilla astride, was never headed as he powered his way to a 5 ½ length victory at about 4.30 p.m. in the penultimate and feature event of an eight-race card.
Woden, who had won his last four starts over yesterday’s 1,750-metre distance after finishing fifth over 1,250 metres when he made his debut in Trinidad at the end of May, was forced to settle for second at prohibitive odds of ½.
Silverleo was 1 ¼ lengths back in third, while Eric “Colt” Durant Memorial winner Free Passage, last year’s Trinidad Derby Stakes hero, was just half-length adrift in fourth in the contest for 100-70 rated horses.
Go For The Gold, runner-up in the 2010 Derby, finished sixth of the seven runners.
Toro Rosso, who returned from a five-month layoff last time out to finish a creditable sixth in the Grade I Independence Cup on Independence Day (August 31), was sent off at odds of 9/2 and scored for the fourth from his 16th career outing for owner Zanim Meah-John and trainer Jose William-Samaroo.
In the second feature, the in-form Wild Shuffle got up in the closing stages to deny Top Of The Class Stakes winner One Fortheroad--who placed third in the Trinidad Derby Stakes last year and fourth in the Easter Guineas--by a neck in the 1,100-metre contest for 90-60 rated horses.
Indian Medicine, winner of the Sugar Mike Stakes the Saturday before, was beaten for the first time in a sprint race when finished eighth of the nine runners in the second event.
However, it should be noted that it was the first attempt by the Harold Chadee-bred and trained three-year-old in a one-turn event on the main track.
Indian Medicine’s five victories have come on the turf, but this race as well as the other three scheduled to be contested on the inner track yesterday were switched to the main course because of a waterlogged grass track.
Wild Shuffle has been in tremendous form this season, placing in the top three in ten of his 11 starts.
His three victories have come in his last five outings and David Butcher, the season’s leading apprentice, has been aboard the Terrance Thomas-trained American-bred five-year-old all three times.
The afternoon’s activities began with Holy Man, the first imported juvenile to face the starter for the season, scoring a convincing 7 1/2-length triumph in the hands of Nicholas Patrick.
Director Dream, the fourth-placed finisher in last year’s Midsummer Classic who was racing for the first time since last year’s Derby just over a year ago, was a gallant second in the 1,300-metre contest.
A length back was favourite Central Square, who was attempting to complete a hat-trick of victories, while Rhea’s Toy Soldier and Fire Light, both owned by the Estate of the late Juan Navarro and trained by Derick Mosca, were fourth and fifth, respectively.
As was the case in her previous two career outings, American-bred three-year-old Double Roses brought up the rear.
Racing continues at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday with the 36th round of the Arima Race Club’s 2013 Season.