The Midsummer Classic which was normally the second jewel of local racing's 'Triple Crown' was pushed back to this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Arima Race Club (ARC) has ensured that the race would be run off featuring the best horse among the three-year-olds of 2021.
Owner of Just Exhale who won the first leg of local racing's Triple Crown is quietly confident that his colt which is trained by Terrance Thomas fit the bill of the best of the Triple Crown aspirants.
His horse gets an opportunity to win two of the three classic events and become the leading three-year-old of 2021.
When the John O'Brien trained Three-year-old Stroke of Luck hit the winning line on Day 12, at the Carib Brewery Trinidad Derby under champion jockey Brian Boodramsing, owner Lance Warner was crushed. His dream of winning the first two legs of local racing's 'Triple crown' evaporated.
Indeed, Warner was the happiest man at Santa Rosa Park, when he won the first leg of local racing's Triple Crown the Guineas for the first time in his career, three-year-old Just Exhale.
However, Derby Day did not turn out to be a fairytale ending which was expected but on this occasion, he felt the disappointment of not getting the run of the race and losing his chance of the Triple Crown glory.
Warner recalled vividly when the horses approached the corner the 'Green Blur' Just Exhale appeared and everyone expected the colt to go by Stroke of Luck but that did not materialise. Now, the quiet Warner who was in awe at the performance of his horse when he won the First jewel - The Grade One - Guineas by an impressive 4 3/4 lengths from Stroke of Luck believes his colt is ready to do the business.
Lance Warner told Guardian Media Sports on Wednesday that, "I am quietly confident that he will run a big race and hopefully win the Midsummer Classic. The trainer Terrance Thomas has been getting him ready and we are all satisfied. As long as he continues training and preparing well he could prove difficult to get by with a clear run. I know he loves the turf and I want the surface to be hard and bouncy, He has been galloping well on the surface and I am keeping my fingers crossed that all will be well."
When asked who he thinks will be his major rivals, Warner said, "I have been watching my rivals and how they have adapted to the grass track and Patta Patta has been going extremely well. She is the horse with the speed and must be respected after her very g good run in the Derby and this trip is shorter. The other horses which have shown good form on the turf are the John O'Brien trained horses such as Gamed Changer, Passionate and to a lesser extent Soca Symphony and the Derby winner Stroke of Luck."
Warner is no stranger to winning Graded races and Classics, having won the Midsummer Classic with Just In Time in 2008. Warner said, "The score now between the two horses Stroke of Luck and Just Awesome is one all, so, therefore, the Midsummer will decide which horse is the best three-year-old in training. I have said to my team let us get ready for the Midsummer Classic. Let us go and begin the year 2022 on a winning note and that will be a 'Breathe of Fresh Air for me,' and I can just Exhale."