DaCosta to throw 'Hail Mary' with She's A Maneater
WAYNE DaCosta has decided to go for broke with SHE'S A MANEATER, hunting Saturday's $709,800 winner's purse, with sights also set on the Boxing Day Miracle Man Trophy, 11 days later, worth $546,000, as he seeks to overhaul Anthony Nunes' lead of $923,000 atop the trainers' standings.
Fighting in the unfamiliar position of having his back against the ropes following his Diamond Mile disappointment, 17-time champion DaCosta on Wednesday slashed Nunes' lead by upstaging his rival in two key races.
Relishing the challenge of staging a rally, DaCosta is banking on the super filly to bring in $1.2m in 11 days to help, a desperate attempt to wrest the lead from Nunes, who fortune smiled on in the Diamond Mile as his BIGDADDYKOOL grabbed second place and $2.2m in SHE'S A MANEATER's absence.
Showing no effects of her breakaway on Diamond Mile Day when she barged out of the gate, spooked by a thrashing PEKING CRUZ, after which she jumped the rail, ran across the infield and went through chest-high evergreen, SHE'S A MANEATER was her awesome self at exercise nine days later in preparation for Saturday's five-and-a-half-furlong sprint.
After a precautionary half-mile gallop in 48.0, three days after the Diamond Mile, the Horse of the Year returned on Monday to blaze five- and-a-half furlongs in 1:05.3, the last five in 59.2, declaring, "I'm back!"
Irrepressible stretch run
Facing the usual suspects - CHACE THE GREAT, MONEY MAGNET, CAMPESINO and HOUDINI'S MAGIC - SHE'S A MANEATER has topweight 126lb but will have help from her speedy stablemate, MR UNIVERSE, to keep Nunes' PATRIARCH and the others honest on the lead before she comes with her irrepressible stretch run.
Countering DaCosta's stakes-scraping tactics, Nunes has two runners in the event, PATRIARCH and HOUDINI'S MAGIC, ready to pick up the scraps from the purse, which is paid first through sixth, partly buffering whatever effect a SHE'S A MANEATER victory might have on his lead.
Similar to Wednesday, the supporting races will be key to either trainer as they seek to pull in purse money from all quarters, clashing from as early as the second event in which DaCosta has three runners going up against Nunes' ante-post favourite, EARN YOUR STRIPES, in a two-year-old maiden event at seven furlongs.
DaCosta had used speedy RUN THATCHER RUN to beat money-back favourite EARN YOUR STRIPES into third place on Diamond Mile Day. However, the chestnut colt appeared to have wanted more real estate and should be comfortable at seven furlongs with the experience under his girth.
The third event appears to be another DaCosta-Nunes showdown , ROYAL VIBES against SOY EL SENOR, both down in class from overnight allowance company and running on claiming tags for the first time in their careers.
The SOY EL SENOR-ROYAL VIBES clash, worth $409,500 to the winner, also pits Nunes' Stephan Narinesingh against DaCosta's Carlton Watson, respectively, who he leads by $953,475 in the owners' championship race.
DaCosta clearly has the upper hand in the ninth with DRUMMER BOY, WINTER IS COMING and RADICAL against Nunes' BRUCE WAYNE but, ironically, Omar Walker the champion trainer's go-to rider, is aboard Ian Parsard's SUPERLUMINAL, who has sparkled at exercise and has the back class to crash the party.