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Stick with Racing Machine
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
As a prelude to next Saturday's 89th Jamaica Derby, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) hosts its annual Hall of Fame race meet at Caymanas Park today with six declared for the open allowance feature for the Hall of Fame Stakes trophy over 1200 metres.
The 11-race programme also features a Walkstacle, in aid of charity (Children First), as well as two other trophy races as secondary features. These are the three-year-old and up overnight allowance race for the Reynold 'Ren' Gonzalves Memorial Cup over 2000 metres in which seven starters have been declared, along with the Leslie McRae Memorial Trophy for native-bred maiden three-year-olds over 1100 metres.
Significantly, all the remaining races on the card have been named for Hall of Fame inductees including Melvin 'Babu' Chin, Cecil Chambers, Charles Hussey and, of course, Kenneth Mattis, who has the distinction of being the only double inductee into the Hall of Fame as jockey and trainer.
The Hall of Fame week of activities will culminate on Thursday, June 11, with the Pre-Derby Hall-of-Fame dinner hosted by the JRC at the Hilton Hotel, New Kingston, starting at 7 p.m.
Among the starters for the Hall of Fame Stakes Trophy is the talented American filly, RACING MACHINE, who is unbeaten in five starts.
Having done everything asked of her so far, including impressive fast-time wins in her last two races, RACING MACHINE, to be ridden by leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, should not only start a howling favourite, but extend her winning streak.
The speedy filly made all over 1400 metres on May 2, covering the distance in the smart time of 1:24.4, then followed up over the round five course on May 13 in a fast 59.1 in open allowance company.
She has worked exceptionally well since, galloping 5-1/2 furlongs in 1:06.0 last Saturday morning, the last five in an eye-popping 59.1. With her preparation complete, the four-year-old daughter of Skimming-Racene ought to be followed in this small field.
She should win from her lightly weighted stable companion, THE GUARDIAN, who caught the eye on May 23 when finishing a close second to top sprinter, OUTSTANDING, in the fast-run Lotto Sprint (grade one) over 1100 metres, a race in which he had his more fancied stable companion and reigning champion sprinter, AHWHOFAH, just behind in third.
I also like SPACEMAN (working well) to upstage his old rival STAR OF THE SEA in the 'Ren' Gonzalves Memorial Cup, COLEMAN'S ROCK in the three-year-old maiden special for the Leslie McRae Memorial Trophy, as well as SKYWAY EXPRESS in the second, WORKING IMAGE to rebound in the third, JET SKI D'OR in the ninth and THE GREYT DOCTOR over STEEL DE CAT in the closing race over 1200 metres, the popular Track Price Plus Dig Out Handicap to be contested by 14 starters.