DaCosta in charge
SHE'S A MANEATER's back-to-back Superstakes win, champion trainer Wayne DaCosta's second in a career decorated with 17 titles, drove a dagger into Anthony Nunes' hopes of dethroning his arch-rival this season after BIGDADDYKOOL could only manage third, finishing seven and a half lengths down the track, eased by jockey Linton Steadman.
BIGDADDYKOOL's third-place Superstakes finish could be just enough to earn him a place in next month's Diamond Mile, which has a winner's purse of approximately $8m, Nunes' last straw of the season, really a mirage, to overtake DaCosta.
Sitting $4.2m in arrears after DaCosta extended his lead by also landing Saturday's Invitational Mile with 6-1 shot WITHOUT EXCEPTION, Nunes is nursing a bloodied nose for yet another year, awaiting the knockout punch on December 1 when SHE'S A MANEATER goes in hunt of consecutive Diamond Mile victories.
The jockeys' race, however, which is decided on wins, not stakes, could still produce fireworks with Anthony Thomas only nine winners ahead of Nunes' stable rider, Panamanian Dick Cardenas.
Neither is down to ride in tomorrow's feature, the Abbie Grannum Memorial for two-year-old maidens, a field of 10 starters with no eye-catching entry, especially at seven furlongs.
Michael Marlowe's filly, FIGHTING VALBEE, ran an even race for fourth behind PRINCESS ANNIE, speedy CAIRO and DUKE on debut a month ago. She returns treated with lasix and should improve on her last run.
Gordon Lewis' NUCLEAR PROUD also showed ability behind PRINCESS ANNIE, though weakening significantly inside the last furlong going six-and-a-half. She, too, returns treated with lasix and can't be underestimated.
DaCosta's DON JULIO and RIDDIM UP, blinkers off, have also shown signs of ability and cannot be left out of calculations, both now fitted with tongue ties.
It makes no sense playing hero with a bunch of unproven maidens, so approach this race with caution, noting horses such as MATRIARCH, whose five outings were all won by her stablemates.
Speaking of youngsters, the numbers are yet to be tallied for Sunday's annual Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders association Yearling sale at which the top two trainers, DaCosta and Nunes went all out for a HAM Stables-bred Blue Pepsi Lodge-Rumble chestnut filly.
Nunes won that battle as the auctioneer's hammer fell at a record $5.1m on the filly, whose grand dam is Beware Baby, BIGDADDYKOOL's mother.