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Kentucky Kris Blazes to New Clinton Phipps Track Record

March 11, 2007 — In a race too close to call, Kentucky Kris set a new track record, coming from the back to beat Emilin in the first feature race Sunday at the Clinton Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas.
The race was highly anticipated, as Kentucky Kris and Emilin, both top St. Thomas horses, pulled up to the starting gate alongside Vivid Cat, Timothy Mac and Boston Bull, making his St. Thomas debut.
Emilin pulled out to an early lead, extending it as much as a length and a half, while Vivid Cat and Kentucky Kris stayed close behind. Coming down the final stretch, however, Kentucky Kris got a burst of energy and began to close the gap on Emilin.
Coming to the wire, Emilin struggled desperately to hold on to the lead. "It's too close to call! It's too close to call!" screamed Bruce Smith, secretary for the St. Thomas- St. John Horse Owner's Association and Sunday's race announcer. "Emilin and Kentucky Kris, right to the wire. What a super race."
After the two horses crossed the line, however, the judges needed to check video footage before declaring a winner. Moments later, Smith announced that Kentucky Kris had won the race and set a new track record, covering six furlongs in 1:08 flat. According to officials, Emilin "only lost by a nose."
During the day, St. Thomas-St. John horse owners paid tribute to Emilin's former jockey, Manuel Caraballo, 65, who sustained a fatal injury in February moments before starting a race at the Randall "Doc" James Racetrack. (See "Jockey Dies After Starting-Gate Accident at St. Croix Track.") Every spectator, racing official and jockey joined together in a moment of silence celebrating Caraballo's accomplishments on the track, as well as his love of the sport.
The second feature race of the day was almost as exciting as the first. Coming out of the starting gate, St. Thomas' Top Carte took an early lead. Tortola's Captain Slew and St. Thomas champion racer Gin Dancer, waiting for the moment to strike, found it coming down the final stretch, as all three horses, for a moment, seemed to vie for the top spot.
Gin Dancer, outlasting the other two, held on to beat Top Carte by one length, with a time of 1:40 3/5.
Three other races completed Sunday's card. In the first race of the day, which was run for a mile, MeKelly held off Prayerful with a time of 1:39 flat. Look for the Prize came in third, while Personal Hearing and Knight's Court finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the second race, Christian was a late scratch at the gate, leaving only three horses to compete in the seven-furlong race. Escapade's Prince blew out the race of the field by 10 lengths, winning with a time of 1:23 1/5. Lil's Angel came in second and D. Grey Speed finished third.
In the final race, Cody's Lucky Appeal was injured after pulling out of the starting gate. Rubiano's Jewel took advantage, jumping out to an early lead. Around the final bend, Wauwinet picked up speed and pulled neck-and-neck with Rubiano's Jewel. Down the stretch the two horses fought back and forth, but Rubiano's Jewel edged out Wauwinet with a time of 1:37:3.
Bey Ivan came in third, while Man the Torpedoes came in forth.
Sunday's races were organized by the St. Thomas-St. John Horse Owner's Association, and dedicated to five St. Thomas senators. According to Lauritz David, the association's president, Sens. Liston Davis, Carlton Dowe, Shawn-Michael Malone, Celestino A. White Sr. and Alvin L. Williams, "have always tried to help us develop horse racing in the Virgin Islands."
"We try to do a lot of things around here ourselves … but it is hard," David said. "But the senators have been supporting us, since we don't really have the funds to do everything we need to do. Another thing is that these five senators know that there are thousands upon thousands of horse racing fans in the Virgin Islands. We love this sport, but we need their support in order to enjoy it."
Each of the senators received a plaque from the association for their efforts.
The next scheduled race day is March 18 on St. Croix.
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