President of the Arima Race Club(ARC) Robert Bernard on August 26th stated that he was quietly confident that the 2021 'Triple Crown' of Local Racing will come off once racing re-starts in September. On that occasion Bernard said that should all go as expected then the second leg of local racing will be in October and the Derby will be run off in November as it was last year.
However, should the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic not let up and we are unable to get clearance until October then the "Triple Crown' races will be contested beginning in October, November with the prestigious final leg, the Trinidad Derby on December 26th Boxing Day."
Guardian Media Sports was informed by someone who has knowledge of the latest developments at the club at Santa Rosa Park in Arima but is not authorized to make statements on behalf of the club. The person said that there will not be any 'Triple Crown'. There will be only two Classic races run off the Guineas and the Derby. The Midsummer Classic will be pulled from the classic diary.
With this in mind, Guardian Media spoke with Nigel Amin owner/breeder of leading three-year-old Arsalan. Amin was very disappointed with the developments, he said, "I hope this will not be done. I feel it for trainer Lester Alexis who has a golden opportunity to write his name in the annals of local racing history. Alexis has never had a chance to train classic horses in his career but has done a good job with Arsalan. This is his big chance, a chance for a small trainer to make his mark. This opportunity should not be taken away. Even I am feeling a bit hurt because I have the opportunity to own a 'Triple Crown' winner, which I bred."
When trainer Alexis was contacted, he was very upset at the fact that the ARC could be thinking of not staging the 'Triple Crown" event. "We have been keeping this horse ticking over and keeping him sound for a chance to land the 'Triple Crown'. We have already lost the Breeders Triple Crown as the final race is off. I am hopeful that good sense will prevail and the Triple Crown Races be run off,"
The Alexis trained three-year-old Arsalan was set to win the Native Bred 'Triple Crown' on August 31st, Independence Day 2021 but that opportunity has been lost. The Nigel Amin owned three-year-old is the leading three-year-old in training and could also win the 'Open Triple Crown.' The Native Bred 'Triple Crown' races are the Royal Colours Classic, the Chief Commander Classic and The Breeders Classic. The Royal Colours was contested on February 6th, the Chief Commander Classic on March 27th and the final leg of the Breeders Classic was set for Tuesday, August 31st.
Arsalan created quite a stir when he caged the top juvenile of 2020 and the leading three-year-old Super Bird in the feature Royal Colours Classic over 1,350 metres on the main track at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. This was the first of the 'Triple Crown" races for the Native Bred horses.
Former champion apprentice Rico Hernandez was aboard, the Amin owned three-year-old Arsalan when he came storming up the straight to nab the then leading three-year-old Super Bird in the Royal Colours Classic.
Super Bird was seeking a hat-trick of wins, but Arsalan caught him close to the line on the main track.
Lester Alexis thought that the blinkers made the difference then.
Lester Alexis and the team have been very patient with Arsalan and it has paid dividends.
Alexis could be one of the proudest and happiest men at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, should the three-year-old colt Arsalan who he trains continue to beat the top three-year-olds in training.
So far this year, the colt has blotted his copy-book once, in his last start against the older horses and he was beaten by Star of Wonder, American Traveller, Wang Chung and Atalanta.
However, before that hiccup, Arsalan had been exemplary winning both his starts and looks every inch the likely favourite for the first jewel of local racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ the Guineas.
This three-year-old by Da Vinci/Fallen Angel created an even better impression at the centralised facility when he won his second Graded race on the trot, the Grade Three - Chief Commander Classic over 1600 metres on the Turf Course at the Santa Rosa Park. On that occasion, Arsalan was brought with a well-timed run, after Super Bird skipped clear with 400 metres to race only to be reeled in by Arsalan in the final 100 metres.
Alexis said, "We know the potential of this horse and we expected him to go on to better things. However, he has been improving and has been maturing in the past months. I am very happy with him at present and we await the 'Triple Crown" series."
Champion trainer John O'Brien saddled the last winners on Day 8 of the 2021 racing season when Champion jockey Brian Boodramsing partnered the unbeaten Soca Symphony to her fourth success in her career from stablemate Princess Steffani which was ridden by 'Triple Crown" winning rider apprentice Kimal Santo on April 24th.