By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
St. Moose cemented his place in history, becoming the first repeat champion in the ninth running of the Premier’s Cup during last Tuesday’s annual August Festival races at the Ellis Thomas Downs, with a domineering run.
St. Moose who began seizing control of the race in front of the grand stand, romped to victory in one minute 55.2, with Integrity in tow. My Pal Shawn was the show horse while Giant Valley—who won the St. Thomas Carnival Governor’s Cup in May by beating St. Moose—was never a factor in the race.
In the process, the St. Croix horse extended the USVI’s streak of winning the BVI’s biggest race for a sixth successive year. He posted a sixth length’s victory over debutant Integrity from St. Thomas, in the $20,000 feature race over a Mile and an 1/16. Trevelyn was the last BVI horse to claim the Premier’s Cup in 2010.
“From the time we saw him dancing in the stables, we knew he meant business today and we had to tie him down early, give him a good chin bath and, he was still dancing and I said ‘ah ha’ that’s the Moose,” St. Moose’s owner James “Bubba” Bates said of his horse that marked the third time a St. Croix horse has won including Potter in 2013. “When he went to St. Thomas (for the Carnival races) he wasn’t dancing. We came in a little too early and when you felt you have something super, you can just take him up and go with him. But, you have to prepare him right and we didn’t prepare him right for that race in St. Thomas.”
Bates said said after getting licks there, they did their home work and went and studied. “We studied well,” he added. “We put in the right work and we came out victorious today. To come here and win the Premier’s Cup twice, it’s a good feeling.”
Preceding the feature race, Honors had an electrifying gate to wire victory and ran away from the field, leaving I’m Sensational in its wake followed by Brass Note and Bellmey Chief. Honors ran the Mile and and an eight in one minute, 50 flat.
“We instructed the jockey to try and break him strong, get him up on the lead and he followed instructions. He knows the horse, he loves the horse and the horse is a faithful runner,” Honors’ Alex Lake said. “He went from the gate. The other horses don’t have the speed he has and the couldn’t finish with him, so he went from the gate.”
Sir Whisky opened with card with a victory over Gotchabob and LB Thunder—who was left in the gate—in a 7 Furlongs race which he covered in 1:34.0.
Buy, Buy, Buy prevented Thestarvingartist from becoming the first debutant going to winners circle, when he overhauled him on the home stretch to win the other 7 furlongs race in 1:33.3. Mark IT A Wynn was the show horse. Meddling Birdie got home in front of Sparky Bee and Yes By Eric.
St. Thomas’ Call Daddy laid off the pace set by Apollo Sky and Pumped Up Kicks, then ran past both on the stretch run, to take the third race that covered 6 Furlongs in 1:23.4. Lil Bart of St. Croix was scratched.
It took officials more then 20 minutes to make the fourth race official, after Returning Rock had a photo finish with Atorrate at the tape. Atorrate launched a protest that was later denied before the race became final, with Returning Rock taking the One Mile race in 1:48.2. Top Class was the show horse while El Indultado followed. Untie The Know was scratched.
Crazy Laura took the fifth race from early leader Rags To Riches also over a Mile, winning in 1:48.4. Cupid Messenger finished third while Bitter Sweet Dream was fourth. Scripture ‘N’ Verse, did not finish the race.
The card closed with the only track record on the day, when Diabloluck sprinted to 59 seconds flat in a 5 Furlongs race to comfortably beat Starship Titan. The Big Meow fell off the pace and was the show horse. Next was How’s A Wynner who was followed by Atrevete, and Fair Command.
BVI Horse Racing Association President Patsy Lake was happy with the fan support. “I think today’s races have turned out to be excellent and God blessed us with a good day,” she stated. “It’s been phenomenal. The people came out in their large numbers and I want to thank the people from the USVI and the BVI for their support.”