Trainer Atkinson steals spotlight as racing returns to Caymanas Park
Vincent Atkinson lit up Saturday's return to horse racing at Caymanas Park, saddling back-to-back winners, his first visit to the winners' enclosure as a trainer, and almost posted a three-timer on the 11-race card.
Atkinson's CHACE THE GREAT, the 2018 Caribbean Sprint champion, ran down speedy MR UNIVERSE as a team with 7-5 favourite, GOD OF LOVE, and held off fast-finishing UNCLE FRANK in the 10th event, an overnight allowance sprint at five-and-a-half furlongs.
MR UNIVERSE, the 9-5 second favourite, led down the backstretch folded when GOD OF LOVE and CHACE THE GREAT attacked midway the stretch run.
Whipped up by apprentice Kiaman McGregor, CHACE THE GREAT quickened away from GOD OF LOVE and went by MR UNIVERSE to win at odds of 6-1.
Atkinson afterwards closed the programme with 26-1 outsider, DANNY SPUD, partnered by Hakeem Pottinger.
Earlier, Atkinson narrowly missed after his SENSATIONAL SATIN was beaten a half-length by 6-5 favourite, DOUBLE JEOPARDY, in the eighth event.
Atkinson and Gary Crawford saddled two winners on the first meet in three months, which welcomed back limited spectators at Caymanas Park as part of its reopening following a shutdown forced by national measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Crawford opened the 11-race card with 6-5 favourite, United States-bred VICTORY TURN and closed a two-timer for owner M&S Syndicate with SPEECHLESS in the fourth, both going all the way at five-and-a-half and five furlongs round, respectively.
Dane Dawkins rode back-to-back winners, 1-9 favourite FORMAL GLADIATOR in the seventh and afterwards DOUBLE JEOPARDY, both at five furlongs round.
Leading rider Dane Nelson moved to 18 winners, five clear of Anthony Thomas, after scoring an easy victory astride 4-5 favourite, STRIKING LADY, for trainer Howard Jaghai in the second event at five furlongs round.
Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday with presold tickets possibly going on sale tomorrow at the racetrack.