Disability Charm to go the distance
DESPITE winning the Thornbird Stakes and the 1000 Guineas, in even more convincing fashion, DISABILITY CHARM appears still not to have won the confidence of punters, heading into this afternoon's Jamaica Oaks.
However, the filly's owner, veteran reggae singer, Calvin 'Cocoa Tea' Scott, believes it won't be much of a race for his underrated runner.
"None of those horses are as good as she is," Scott said from his South Florida home recently, though he won't be in the island to watch her tackle the 10-furlong fillies-only classic.
Trained by one of Caymanas Park's most reclusive conditioners, Patrick 'Wacky' Lynch, whose height would make anyone go, 'nah', if told he was once a jockey, DISABILITTY CHARM represents the classic reject to glory, Seabiscuit-type, horse racing story.
Sold for a song despite her excellent pedigree, DISABILITY CHARM, as her name suggests, has a bad knee, which Scott took a chance on.
However, Lynch's style of training, never one to give away anything at exercise, fits perfectly with DISABILITY CHARM's dodgy knee.
Three wins from four starts later, and going for a hat-trick, she is a guarded ante-post favourite for the Oaks with pundits wondering whether she will make it around the circuit, as opposed her last two wins, which were out of the mile chute.
Among her nine rivals is the Guineas runner-up, LICI'S PEPSI, who has come on a ton since trainer Patrick Fong ditched her cheekpieces and fitted the tongue tie. Prepping for the Guineas, she beat the colt REGGAE ROAD into third place at seven furlongs. On Guineas Day, she closed best from off the pace behind two-length winner DISABILITY CHARM.
Richard Azan's HONEY RYDA started as favourite in the 1000 Guineas after a battling win at a mile in her previous race. However, she was left standing at the top of the lane when matching strides with DISABILITY CHARM coming off the turn, eventually losing second to late-closing LICI'S PEPSI.
LICI'S PEPSI and HONEY RYDA's Guineas performances exposed what could be stamina limitations, unlike DISABILITY CHARM, who is stacked with class on both sides.
Sired by Soul Warrior, winner of the West Virginia and Iowa derbies, DISABILITY CHARM's dam line is impeccable. She was foaled by Runnin on Empty, who got her class from Caymanas Park's first Triple Crown-winning filly, Simply Magic, a daughter of multiple grade one winner, United States-bred Fontainbleu
Runnin on Empty was sired by Go Rockin Robin, who also threw the 2010 Governor's Cup winner, Go My Robin, making DISABILITY CHARM undoubtedly the best-bred horse in the Oaks.
Dick Cardenas is aboard DISABILITY CHARM, due to Robert Halledeen's Derby commitment to last Saturday's city-block winner, 2000 Guineas runner-up, WESTERN LEGEND. The change of rider, however, counts for little as DISABILITY CHARM is a fluent galloper, an on-the-pace runner, who also rates easily.
A deceptively dangerous filly, DISABILITY CHARM makes up for her innocuous-looking exercise reports with a stealth-like pace and great determination in the stretch run.
After winning the 1400-metre Thornbird Stakes in a driving finish, amid questions of her ability to stay the Guineas distance, she silenced the doubting Thomases with a command performance at a mile, pulling away at the top of the lane.
Though she has never run a two-turn race, DISABILITY CHARM's pace work in the mornings, beating open allowance stablemate, ANOTHER BULLET, is to be counted, she should definitely get 10 furlongs, which is already suggested by her bloodline.