She's A Maneater wins Superstakes thriller
"She is one of the greatest horses to have run at Caymanas Park," champion trainer Wayne DaCosta declared yesterday after SHE'S A MANEATER rallied in deep stretch to beat WILL IN CHARGE by a short head in one of the most thrilling Superstakes finishes ever in its 40-year history.
It was a literal head-bob that decided the most anticipated race of the year, WILL IN CHARGE and SHE'S A MANEATER locked in battle from the top of the lane after shaking loose of BIGDADDYKOOL when the pace quickened three furlongs out.
DaCosta's rabbit, DRUMMER BOY, led the six-horse field before WILL IN CHARGE took over five furlongs out with SHE'S A MANEATER slipping inside to go after her nemesis, who had floored her in last month's Gold Cup.
The superfilly swooped down on WILL IN CHARGE coming off the home turn, and a battle for the ages started, with SHE'S A MANEATER in mid-track and her rival down along the rail with Robert Halledeen.
Head-bob after head-bob, the lead changed hands inside the last half-furlong until the winning post intervened, ending one of the most epic Superstakes clashes ever, Omar Walker and SHE'S A MANEATER triumphing over Halledeen and the brave WILL IN CHARGE.
DaCosta afterwards said SHE'S A MANEATER's sex allowance, which gave her a 12lb weight swing on WILL IN CHARGE out of the Gold Cup, plus a change in her exercise regime, allowed the filly to defend her Superstakes title against the most improved horse in training.
WAS A TRUMP CARD
"Definitely," he responded when asked whether the weight swing was a trump card for SHE'S A MANEATER, adding that taking her off the boil at exercise after the Gold Cup also worked wonders.
"We're going 10 furlongs, so we had to change for the race," he added.
Meanwhile, Walker, a six-time champion, who has accounted for all three Diamond Mile events so far, paid his respects to WILL IN CHARGE's brave run but said that his filly was up to the task.
"He was fighting her back, but she kept on fighting him," he pointed out.
DaCosta's back-to-back Superstakes win, his second in a career decorated with 17 trainers' titles, drove a dagger into Anthony Nunes' hopes of dethroning him this season after BIGDADDYKOOL could only manage third, finishing seven and a half lengths behind the top two.
DaCosta, who started the day $1.624 million clear of Nunes in their stakes race atop the trainers' standings, extended his lead to approximately $3.6 million, also landing the Invitational Mile with 6-1 shot WITHOUT EXCEPTION, partnered by Javaniel Patterson, getting the better of Gary Subratie's 3-5 favourite, HILLY'S HALO.
BIGDADDYKOOL's third-place Superstakes finish could be just enough to earn him a place in next month's $8 million Diamond Mile, Nunes' last straw of the season to dethrone DaCosta.
Dane Nelson won two events on the 10-race card, including the six-furlong Caribbean Sprint aboard 7-5 favourite and defending champion, CHACE THE GREAT, to share riding honours with new apprentice Christopher Mamdeen.
'Super Weekend' winds down today with the annual Yearling Sale, starting at 10:30 a.m. in the Officials' Car Park.
Arima Race Club president Baskaran Bassawh was spotted in the North Lounge at Caymanas Park, signalling the return of the Trinidadians for this year's sale, giving the locals a run for their money in the auction ring.
Racing resumes on Wednesday.