Melnyk Celebrates Sterwins' Win in Gold Cup

Melnyk Celebrates Sterwins' Win in Gold Cup
Photo: Courtesy of TotallyBarbados.com
Canadian-bred Sterwins furnished a last-to-first rally to win the Gold Cup at the Garrison Savannah racecourse in Bridgetown, Barbados.

In front of 200 and his closest friends and family plus thousands of fans in the grandstand and infield, Eugene Melnyk celebrated his second win in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup in his homeland of Barbados.

Canadian-bred Sterwins furnished a last-to-first rally to win the $200,000 ($97,000 U.S.) Gold Cup at the Garrison Savannah racecourse in Bridgetown, Barbados on March 6.

In extreme heat and humidity and racing right-handed on a baked turf course, Sterwins, under expert handling by champion jockey Patrick Husbands, swung wide into the homestretch of the 1 1/8-mile event. He was up in the final sixteenth to win by about half a length over Bribon, last year`s Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) winner.

Owned and bred by Melnyk, a Canadian pharmaceutical entrepreneur who lives in Barbados, Sterwins ran the distance in a scorching 1:48 4/5, just one-fifith off the course record.

Bribon, owned by Derrick Smith and trained by Ed Walcott Jr. for Todd Pletcher, was clear of Barbadian star Apostle, who was third. The filly Bounceback, with Canadian rider Richard Dos Ramos on board, was fourth.

Mark Casse is the current trainer of Sterwins, a graded stakes winner in Canada for trainer Malcolm Pierce in recent years. The 7-year-old gelding was prepared for the race at Melnyk`s Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Fla., by Phil Hronec.

Melnyk, who has supported Barbados' biggest race in the past and won it in 2004 with Kathir, was running a horse in the event for the first time since 2005.

``To bring a horse here that is one that I bred, it`s more special,``said an emotional Melnyk, who hosted a private tent party in the infield.

 ``This is where I live and to win this race here, it`s no different than winning the Queen`s  Plate in Toronto, where I am from.``

Sterwins, Melnyk, Casse and Husbands were mobbed after the race by fans, including dozens of children as they made their way to the winner`s circle. Husbands, who is from Barbados, is a hometown hero who was winning his third Gold Cup but his first for Melnyk and Casse, his longtime clients.

Sterwins is a son of Runaway Groom out of the Wild Again mare Sweet Vale. The gelding was second in the Plate as a 3-year-old on Woodbine`s dirt track and has won stakes on turf and Polytrack, including the Ben Ali (gr. III) at Keeneland in 2008.

He has won nine of 29 career starts and earned over $1.02 million.

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