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DaCosta's Machine remains unbeaten
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The unbeaten American filly RACING MACHINE continued on her merry ways at Caymanas Park yesterday with a not-too-impressive all-the-way victory in the 14th running of the Hall of Fame Stakes Trophy open allowance feature over 1200 metres.
Installed a 1-4 favourite with leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths riding for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, RACING MACHINE vied for the lead with WHEEL N DEAL (4-1) for the first half a dozen strides before going clear.
She opened up a commanding lead over WHEEL N DEAL and top weight GOOD CITIZEN (12-1), but although still enjoying a clear lead approaching the distance, had to be driven out by Griffiths in the closing stages to stave off the fast-finishing GOOD CITIZEN under leading jockey Dane Nelson, by a length, in a field of six.
Indeed, it could have been a lot closer had the Carl Anderson-trained GOOD CITIZEN not suffered a slipped saddle in the straight.
Owned by Elizabeth DaCosta, wife of the trainer, RACING MACHINE is now unbeaten in six starts with total stakes of $1.8 million.
too fast too early
This was her narrowest margin of victory and DaCosta was of the view that she "went too fast too early" in blistering splits of 22,3 and 45.3 for the half mile to be coming back in a final time of 1:12.2.Meanwhile, the annual pre-Derby 'Hall of Fame' race meet hosted by the Jamaica Racing Commission also included a walkstackle and two other trophy races, including the overnight allowance over 2000 metres for the Reynold 'Ren' Gonzalves Memorial Cup. This was won in fine style by the 6-5 favourite STAR OF THE SEA who came through approaching the distance with apprentice Jason Simpson in the saddle.
Owned by the Rhoden brothers, STAR OF THE SEA was previously trained by the legendary 'Hall of Famer' Allan 'Billy' Williams, who passed away nine days ago after a short illness. Since Williams became ill, the Law Of The Sea filly was saddled to victory on May 23 by the young trainer Clifford Atkinson Jr, in whose care she has now been placed.
Meanwhile, Dane Nelson has extended his lead over suspended champion Omar Walker in the jockeys' standings, thanks to a sparkling triple comprising WE WILL SEE (2-1), COLEMAN'S ROCK (1-1) and FIRST LADY (9-5) to move to 52 wins - four clear of Walker, who returns from a three-day suspension on Derby Day, next Saturday.
Entries for the 89th running of the United Bookmakers Association Jamaica Derby to be run at Caymanas Park on June 13 closed yesterday afternoon in the Racing Office. Among the 15 entries are BRUCEONTHELOOSE and SAINT CECELIA, respective winners of the 2000 and 1000 Guineas, along with HE'S REALLY OK, recent winner of the Lotto Classic for the Governor's Cup.