The Trinidad Guardian / The John Leotaud trained Jamaican bred three-year-old colt General JN justified all the hype and his very short-priced in the betting market with another impressive display to win the feature First Citizens Midsummer Classic over 1,900 metres on the main track at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
In front of a Labour Day crowd, Kerron Khelawan made it look all to easy with the Jerry Narace 1-9 favourite.
When starter Carlton Ramsaroop sent the nine-horse field on its way for in the $170,000 purse event General JN broke alertly but Affirmative which was drawn in stall one wanted to be at the head of affairs. Passing the winning post for the first time Affirmative led from General JN which was ‘tanking along’ with Prince of BelleVue close up and just ahead of Streaking Far with Dancin Deputy tracking the pace. These were followed by Warmonger, Master of War, No Man’s Land with Just So contented to observe from the rear.
Going down the back, Miguel Vasquez aboard Affirmative attempted to up the tempo but Khelawan was motionless on General JN which was cantering over his rivals.
At the far turn Affirmative still, lead but only on sufferance as General JN moved effortlessly to join him at the head of affairs. These were followed by Prince of Belle Vue, Streaking Far, Dancin Deputy and Warmonger.
However, at the top of the straight General JN pulled his way to the front an opened up a two-length gap on Affirmative as Prince of Belle Vue rallied against the rail with Streaking Far closing ahead of Warmonger.
The race was put to bed in style as the three-year-old son of Forest Danger cantered clear without being asked a question to win eased down by four lengths from Prince of Belle Vue with Affirmative weakening back in third. The Glenn Mendez trained Streaking Far was a respectable fourth.
The running time for the event was 2:01.87.
General JN will now go the final jewel of the local racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of the American Triple Crown Champion Justify.
In the co-feature First Citizens Santa Rosa Dash over 1,200 metres, the John O’Brien trained filly Pauseforacoors ran differently from her name as she never paused once the gates open. Brian Boodramsingh flashed her out of the stalls and though pestered by Princess Suri and Whisper Light for most of the way, she proved too good in the end. The Raroma Stable owned three-year-old filly quickened away impressively in the final 200 metres to beat Princess Suri and One for the road with Whisper Light occupying the fourth spot.
The disappointment in the event was Bigman In Town which trailed the field for most of the journey before finishing a well-beaten sixth and some 11 lengths off the winner.
Pauseforacoors registered the time of 1:12.28 on the sloppy main track.
Training honours on First Citizens Bank Day at the Races were shared between Glenn Mendez and John Leotaud.