By Jennifer Morrison and Kelsey Riley
Last year’s Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) winner Bribon, and Eugene Melnyk’s multiple grade III winning Sterwins hightlight 14 horses entered for the 29th Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup, scheduled for March 6 at the Garrison Savannah racecourse in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The $200,000 Barbados Gold Cup ($97,000 US funds) is the most important race run annually at Garrison Savannah, which has hosted horse racing since 1845. Six-year-old Bribon was purchased privately in December by Derrick Smith with the Barbados Gold Cup in mind. A winner of nine races from 30 starts, the French-bred son of Mark of Esteem- Rowat Arazi, by Arazi, also won the 2009 Westchester Stakes (gr. III) at a mile at Belmont Park just prior to his Met Mile victory. Each of Bribon’s nine wins have come at a mile or less, and his only attempt at the Barbados Gold Cup distance of 1 1/8 miles yielded a sixth-place finish in allowance company in July 2007. Bribon closed out his 2009 campaign last year with a close second-place finish behind champion Kodiak Kowboy in the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I), and will make his first start of 2010 here under top European jockey Johnny Murtagh.
Smith will also be represented in the race by Bad Action, another horse he purchased privately. The 4-year-old has won eight of 23 races for earnings of $322,465, including last November’s Pegasus Stakes (gr. III). Bad Action bookended that win with second-place finishes in the Proud Truth Stakes and Discovery Handicap (gr. III), both at Aqueduct. Bad Action is by Brahms , out of the Sky Classic mare Lucky Carley. Jono Jones, a four-time Barbados Gold Cup winning jockey who rides regularly at Woodbine in Toronto, Canada, will ride Bad Action.
Melnyk, a native of Barbados, will attempt to win the Barbados Gold Cup for the first time since 2004 with Sterwins. The 7-year-old son of Runaway Groom out of the Wild Again mare Sweet Vale has been the picture of consistency for Melnyk since his career debut in May 2005, hitting the board in 22 of 28 starts and registering eight wins for earnings of $971,936. Sterwins has won five stakes, three of which were at 1 1/8 miles on turf or synthetic surfaces. His last win came in the Aug. 20 With Approval Stakes at Woodbine. Canadian-bred Sterwins will be ridden by Canadian champion jockey Patrick Husbands, a native of Barbados, for trainer Mark Casse.
The Barbados Gold Cup field also includes top Barbadian runner Areutalkintome, who has won or placed in all 11 of his starts. The 4-year-old is a son of the Arazi stallion Zwick and French stakes winner Madeleine’s Dream, by Threatrical. Both Zwick and Madeleine’s Dream were bred by the late Allen Paulson, who also raced Arazi. Areutalkintome’s dam, Bossa Nova, is by Nosferatu, a son of Vice Regent. Areutalkintome was bred in Barbados.
Last year’s Barbados Gold Cup winner Daylight Express will attempt to defend his title. The American-bred son of Seeking Daylight- Ransom Dance, by Red Ransom won five stakes in a row at Garrison Savannah last year before traveling to Woodbine for his final three starts of the year, which resulted in one win in allowance company. The 5-year-old Daylight Express is one of four starters in the race for owner Lord Michael Taylor.
$200,000 ($97,000 US funds) Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup ( Race 8), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Trainer
1. Preach To Me (USA), 129, E Deane
2. Bad Action (USA), 125, E Walcott, Jr.
3. Daylight Express (USA), 129, R Pierce
4. Pure Temptation (USA), 129, R Pierce
5. Peaceful Envoy (USA), 125, R Pierce
6. Sterwins (CAN), 129, M Casse
7. Spicey Tiger (USA), 129, E Walcott, Jr.
8. Bribon (USA), 129, E Walcott, Jr.
9. Areutalkintome (BAR), 118, S Joseph Jnr
10. Grace Chapel (USA), 120, A Nunes
11. Bird Watch (USA), 125, E Deane
12. Apostle (BAR), 125, A Nunes
13. John Brian (USA), 129, E Deane
14. Bouncebak (BAR), 117, R Pierce