nationnews.com BY JUSTIN MARVILLE | SUN, MARCH 06, 2011 – 12:00 AM
IT’S NOT OVER until someone shows you the money. The Smith camp will do well to remember that. It wasn’t the ideal way to win the Caribbean’s most prestigious race but champion owner Gay Smith will take it anyhow, after Zoom was eventually awarded yesterday’s Sandy Lane Gold Cup in controversial fashion at the Garrison Savannah.
Initially happy to settle for second, Smith was even more elated to find out her horse was bumped up one spot following an objection that eventually disqualified Show Me The Money.
“It’s absolutely terrible to win in the way we did,” said Smith of Show Me The Money’s disqualification. “But the horse [Zoom] was spectacular and I just have to say thank you to my trainer and my perfect jockey. We’ve won with a home-bred – born and bred in Barbados – which is perfect.”
A long shot to win at 12-1 odds, Zoom seemingly did well to come second best as Show Me The Money, ridden by Jalon Samuel, crossed the finish line a good four-and-a-half lengths ahead. However, that decision was rescinded following a lengthy process, after Apostle’s connections lodged a protest claiming that Samuel impeded the horse in the home stretch.
So it was Zoom who eventually showed everyone the victory.
“We can’t do anything about that,” said victorious trainer Edward Walcott Jr with a sympathetic voice. “As a trainer it could have happened to me in the race but the stewards have to make their decisions and that’s what they decided.”
In spite of the controversy and Zoom’s high odds, Walcott believed his camp had the horse to give Barbados a locally bred champ for the first time since Federico won 13 years ago.
This after imported horses Bad Action and Safety Zone generated all the buzz heading into the race’s 30th edition. And if any attention surrounded a local contender, Apostle was the one getting it.
In the end, all were left behind. Not to Walcott’s surprise, though.
“It didn’t bother me what they said [because] we knew what we had,” Walcott said of Zoom’s overlooked status.
“He’s been on top of his game for the last three months [so] we’ve been really happy with him. He’s just won his last race before this and he’s had two seconds before, that so I was really happy with him coming here.
“It’s everybody [though], it’s a team effort and truthfully speaking, without Mr and Mrs Smith, I don’t know how we would do it, but we managed to do something we’ve been trying to do for a few years now – bring the local horses to the front.”