Beaten by a 'Maneater' - Nunes
Trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes said Wayne DaCosta's irrepressible filly, SHE'S A MANEATER, was the main reason he failed to win his first trainers' championship in 2017.
Nunes, who has finished countless seconds to DaCosta in the trainer's championship, for the first time in his career, accumulated more wins (73) than his rival, Caymanas Park's legendary number-one trainer (72).
However, he still lost out to the 17-time defending champion, whose runners earned more stakes, $69,324,125 to Nunes' $64,244,850.
Despite not being able to win his first trainer's title and break DaCosta decade-and-a-half hold on the championship, Nunes was nevertheless pleased.
"I wasn't disappointed. I was very pleased with how my staff worked all year, so I am not sad. I was very pleased with the work of my stable. We were down $13 million at end of July and we rallied within $2 million (prior to SHE'S A MANEATER winning the Diamond Mile).
"We believe that had it not been for SHE'S A MANEATER, we would have won the championship..
"She came around at the time and was the difference-maker. That's fine, that's how racing is. Maybe one day I will have one like her," he told STAR Sports.
$20.5 million in earnings
SHE'S A MANEATER, the 2017 Triple Crown, Superstakes and Diamond Mile winner, was responsible for $20.5 million of DaCosta's $69.3 million stake earnings.
Even though the odds were against Nunez going into the Diamond Mile, he was confident one of his horses could upset the filly for the $14.2 million purse and overturn the just over $2 million deficit. However, it was not to be, as SHE'S A MANEATER won the Diamond Mile and stretched Dacosta's advantage to $6 million, eventually handing the championship by a little over $5m.
"Of course, I felt we had a good a chance as any, and she (SHE'S A MANEATER) had to show us how good she was, and she did, so hats off to her," Nunes stated, adding that with SHE'S A MANEATER still around this year, it is going to be very difficult to wrest the championship from Dacosta.
"SHE'S A MANEATER is still around, so it is going to be very difficult to beat Mr DaCosta again. She is healthy and sound. I expect her to have a full year of racing again, so it will be very difficult, but that does not mean we will not be trying," he said.