By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
With four horses being scratched, Sunday’s $20,000 Virgin Islands Classic became a match race between St. Croix’s St. Moose and Tortola’s My Pal Shawn at the Ellis Thomas Downs.
The St. Croix horse that won the first leg of the Virgin Islands Triple Crown last January, then walked off with the Premier’s Cup during the August Festival races, collected his third successive major victory here in the past year, after powering past My Pal on the back stretch of the second lap. He went on to victory in one minute and 46 seconds flat, in the One Mile feature race.
“When we found out it would be a match race, I told my jockey, if he gets the lead, don’t hustle him. Just save your horse, make the big run and he did that,” noted St. Moose’s owner James “Bubba” Bates. “With Lesmore (Smith horse Bellamy Chief pulling out—I know he’s a speed horse) I told my jockey Winston Hurst don’t worry, our horse was ready to go. He was doing everything he regularly does so it was hard to beat him.”
BVI Horse Racing Association president Patsy Lake—who owns My Pal Shawn with her son Alex—congratulated Bates on the victory. “He’s staying my house and I house him and he cut my tail,” Lake noted with a laugh. “But, anyhow, that’s the sport. We’re going to go to St. Croix and turn it around.”
Wrol Up went from gate to wire to win the next big race of the day, the sixth on the card over 7 Furlong for Class B Horses, with a purse of $10,000.00 on offer. Wrol Up ran his trademark race, controlling the race from the start to cross the line in 1:32.0, to beat Chilean Boy by three lengths. St. Croix’s Uptown Anthem was the show horse, with Honors placing fourth. Bitter Sweet Dream was scratched.
Mark It A Wynn’s triumph in Race 2 over 7 Furlongs for Class D Horses, was overshadowed by a mishap just after the Grand Stand and 30 meter from the Paramedics station when Optionality, who was behind the field, never negotiated the turn. While jockey Brian Gonzales valiantly tried to steer him on course, he ran through the outer rail and threw him off. Gonzales was rushed to Peebles Hospital for examination. There was no report on the extent of his injuries. Mark It A Wynn won in 1:35.2, holding off charging Meddling Birdie to claim the bulk of the $5,000.00 prize. Sir Whisky was the show horse, with St. Thomas’ debutant Tail White fourth. Grand Family was scratched.
Miss Homer overhauled Extra Dinner to win race four, covering 7 Furlongs for Class C & D Mares & Fillies. Extra Dinner controlled much of the $5,300.00race but then Miss Homer began cutting into its lead, catching him on the turn, then took the lead at the top of the stretch to win in 1:34.0. Motion To Appeal was never a factor in the race and Crazy Laura was scratched.
Orithyia opened the card with a comfortable victory over Dramacidel, in the 6½ Furlongs, $5,000.00 run for Class E Horses. He navigated the course in 1:29 flat. LB Thunder was the show horse ahead of Power Ten. Joshua rounded out the field.
I’m Sensational took the measure of Sin Mir Atras and Buy, Buy, Buy to win the third race over 7 Furlongs for Class C Horse. The race’s purse was $5,500.00. St. Thomas’ Bar Magic and St. Croix’s Brass Note, were scratched.
Atorrante made a bold move on the backstretch, to challenge Yes By Eric—who injured himself and later retired and held off fast charging Daboluck at the line to win the day’s final race—the closest finish of all seven—by half a length in 1:26.3 Star Ship Titan ran past Gottocha Bob, to earn the spot as the show horse. Bling Blang rounded out the field. The race was over 6 ½ Furlongs for Class C Horses with a Purse of $7,000.00.