WODEN established himself as one of the very best stayers in the country when racing continued last week Tuesday at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. The American-bred three-year-old turned in the most impressive performance on the massive 11-race National Gas Company (NGC)-sponsored Republic Day holiday card to complete a beaver-trick of wins.
Despite the fact that he was facing a high-class bunch of 90-60 rated horses, Woden was sent off as the overwhelming 1/2 favourite in the day’s sixth event, the Higher Octane. And the punters definitely knew what they were talking about as the Derick Mosca-trained gelding slammed his field by five lengths in the 1,750-metre contest.
Just a length separated the other four horses past the post. Red Lace and Buffalo Soldier, who had placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Grade I Independence Cup last time out on Independence Day (August 31), finished second and third, respectively. And Silverleo just nosed out Secret American, the fourth-placed finisher in the Independence Cup, for the fourth and final place on the tins.
It Is Alleged, like Woden owned by Shivam Maharaj and trained by Mosca, was sixth, while 2010 Trinidad Derby runner-up Go For The Gold and Onetokeep, last year’s Derby runner-up, in his first race in over four months, ended up seventh and 11th, respectively, in the field of 12.
Woden has not lost since he finished fifth on his Santa Rosa debut over 1,250 metres in May. His four victories have been over 1,750 metres. The son of Bernstein was the first horse Javier Castellano rode in Trinidad. The world-famous Venezuelan, brought down by Baskaran Bassawh for the day, came back to win the penultimate event, the NGC CNG Trinidad Derby, astride Bassawh’s Bigman In Town. Easter Guineas and Midsummer Classic hero War Of Words would have become the first triple crown winner in a decade with victory in the $500,000 contest, but he finished second in the 2,000-metre contest for West Indian-bred three-year-olds.
Castellano was not the only star rider who made his Trinidad debut Tuesday as Rajiv Maragh, ranked in the top 30 in the US this year, was also in the spotlight. The young Jamaican failed to find winners’ enclosure, but did finish third with Prince Zeshan in the Derby. His US-based uncle Allen Maragh, who has ridden here from time to time in the last few years and was victorious in the ’11 Derby astride 87/1 shot Bears And Bulls, finished second with Sea Gold in the opener, the Driving Economy event.
That 1,100-metre turf contest for 60-45 rated horses was won at the generous price of 6/1 by D’Sportman, ridden by this country’s most celebrated rider Emile Ramsammy. The Canada-based 50-year-old, who has booted home over 2,500 winners in his career, spent the first three months of the year at home and rode an incredible 30 winners.
The Grade I Derby was the feature, but the programme also included the NGC Diamond Stakes, and Sacred Trust, with US-based Jamaican Shane Ellis up, won this 1,350-metre contest for top class horses at shocking odds of 14/1. Signal Alert, the ’11 Stewards Cup winner, placed second, while last year’s Derby winner Free Passage was third and heavy favourite (1/2) Crime Of Passion, winner of three of his four previous starts, including the Santa Rosa Dash, ended up fourth in the Grade II $150,00O contest.
Racing continues on Saturday at Santa Rosa Park with the 33rd round of the Arima Race Club’s 2013 season.