By Kent Layne
Dorsett became the third horse to win back-to-back Sandy Lane Gold Cups when he won the 36th running of the Caribbean’s most prestigious race at the Garrison Savannah this evening.
After the exciting finish there was a lengthy stewards’ inquiry on the winner but it was made final at the end and the positions stood.
As the gates opened Dorsett broke dead last, his fans and bettors seemed upset and possibly thought all hope was lost. Four furlongs out and Dorsett was still last as fans began to turn their backs as second place finisher the Ken Ramsey entry High Noon had kicked for home. But like a bullet from a gun Dorsett rocketed from last to first to grab the lead and send the Grandstand into an uproar.
Neck for neck and stride for stride it was Dorsett and High Noon. Samuel rode as though his life was in the balance, taking the lead from jockey Rafael Hernandez and High Noon. For the second year in a row Dorsett had kept the Cup at home defeating the USA invaders of High Noon into second place and Keystoneforvictory into third. Locally bred mare Nekitta ran her heart out to take fourth position. The Gold Cup paid $60 000 plus subscriptions.
Dorsett now follows Sandford Prince and Blast of Storm as the only horses to win the Gold Cup in consecutive years. Winning jockey Jalon Samuel also made his own history by becoming the sixth jockey to win consecutive editions of the race, after Emile Ramsammy in 1987 and 1988, Venice Richards in 1991 and 1992, Richard Quinn in 1994, 1995, Jono Jones in 2000 and 2001 and Anderson Ward in 2008 and 2009.
The 2017 Sandy Lane Gold Cup winning trainer Robert Peirce also goes into the history books in becoming the sixth trainer to land back-to-back victories.
Arthur “Scobie” Breasley was the first trainer to land consecutive Gold Cups when he lifted the Cup with Sandford Prince in 1991 and 1992. Challenor Jones landed consecutive wins with locally bred horses Incitatus and Federico in 1997 and 1998 respectively. Bill Marshall, Liz Deane and Michael Maker complete the trainers to win Gold Cups in consecutive years.
Samuel enjoyed a great day matching the tally he did last year by winning two of the big three stakes on the card. Samuel won race seven – his first win of the day – when he won the Tanglewood Stakes And Trophy with 2016 Derby winner Northern Star. Last year Samuel had won the Spa Sprint and the Gold Cup, but this year he took the Tanglewood and Gold Cup after finishing second in the Spa Sprint today with Lucky Adventure. It was the fourth Tanglewood for trainer Victor Cheeseman, making him the all-time leading trainer in this 10-furlong race for creole animals. Northern Star became the second horse to win the Derby and Tanglewood and doing it back to back. The previous horse to do so was the filly Kendal Moon when she won the Derby in 2011 and then took the Tanglewood in 2012. Trifecta for the Tanglewood paid $236
Cheeseman was the most successful trainer on the day taking four victories. It was the second year in a row that this talented trainer had won the most races on Gold Cup day winning five races last year on the biggest day in Barbados’ racing calendar. Cheeseman opened the day taking the first two races with Fleurette and Legion. He returned in race seven with Northern Star before closing the day with Poetry In Motion.
Apprentice rider Rasheed Knight might be up all night tonight as he took the first win of his career. Knight rode a first class race on Easter Monday in the Tree House Club Trophy Handicap going 11 furlongs. Knight rode for all his worth to defeat Patrick Husbands and Corvette into second place. Knight then returned in race nine for apprentice riders to land on horse number three, Guest Again, completing a double. It’s very rare for a rider to win his first two races on the same day.
An estimated crowd of 30 000 came out on the 2017 Gold Cup Day that featured a first ever 12 race card.