TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
By DEREK COZIER
Success in a Classic event is the ultimate achievement of every owner; to own a Triple Crown winner is the pinnacle of such success.
In 1983, the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority officially designated three classics as the Triple Crown for 3 year olds bred in the West Indies - Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago. These comprise the Southern Sales & Service Easier Guineas (Easter Monday), William H. Scott Limited Midsummer Classic (First Saturday in July) and Royal Oak Derby Stakes (First Saturday in September).
The Midsummer Classic, formerly the Trial Stakes, and the Derby Stakes each have a long and colourful history with the Easter Guineas being the 'baby', having had its first run in 1951.
Since being granted official sanction there has been one Triple Crown hero, SKY ROCKET in 1986, however, there have in fact been eight winners of the designated triple crown races commencing with BRIGHT LIGHT in 1952 to SKYROCKET, the last 3 year old to achieve this feat.
Of the eight Triple Crown winners, six have been ridden to victory by the same rider in each of their successes.
DARJEELING and SHALIMAR which raced in the colours of Lou E. Fisher, and were produced from the mare FAIR JO - is the only 'double' scored to date by an owner and dam, both also being sired by PRIDE OF INDIA. Leo Williams is the only trainer to achieve a double with HAPPY LANDING and AURELIAN
Year Name Sire Dam Owner(s) Trainer
1952 BRIGHT LIGHT(STV) BURNING BOW FELICITAS Cyril de B. Barnard Cuthbert Thavenot
1954 DARJEELING(BAR) PRIDE OF INDIA FAIR JO Lou E. Fisher Stewart Massiah
1958 SHALIMAR(BAR) PRIDE OF INDIA FAIR JO Lou E. Fisher Mc Donald Aird
1960 HAPPY LANDING ORLY CARVA J C. Cummings Leo V Williams
1963 AURELIAN GOLDEN FLEECE COSCOB Max Ferreira Leo V. Williams
1967 CHIP CHIP KINDLING CHIPS SEA FAIR John O’Halloran James Williams
1982 ROYAL COLOURS CALPURNIUS BABY PRINCESS Alwin Poon Tip & John Sellier Eric Durant
1986 SKY ROCKET AMERICAN HONOR BE QUICK John O'Brien, Terrance O’Brien Joseph Hadeed
Steve Afoon,Kemraj Singh & J. A. Leotaud
1952 BRIGHT LIGHT (bay filly, 16 April 1949)
Considered the best of all Champions bred by Cyril de Bracey Barnard - "Mr. Trinidad Derby", with 4 victories as an owner - three bred at his Orange Hill Estate in St. Vincent; BRIGHT LIGHT was brilliant at 2 and 3, chalking up a number of Classic successes in both Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados where she campaigned.
By Burning Bow out of Felicitas and thus full sister to Classic winners Happy Legend and Faerie Queene, BRIGHT LIGHT's career began at the Garrison Savannah, on August 9, 195 1, Third Day of the Barbados Turf Club's Summer Meeting, in the Nursery Stakes, when a one length runner -up to April's Dream. A week later the Barnard flag bearer scored her maiden success. She missed the Autumn Meeting in November, and was sent to Trinidad for the big Christmas Meeting, with her main objective being the Breeders Stakes on Boxing Day, having not raced for some four months. At the Queen's Park Savannah, BRIGHT LIGHT was simply awesome, racing unbeaten in each of her four outings.
The daughter of Felicitas started off with a 2length win over Diarose in the Breeders Stakes, with Gallant Rock in third place.
On the Second Day she won the West Indian Produce Stakes over stable mate Cavalier; while Gallant Rock defeated an all-aged F Class bunch in the then prestigeous Anchor Cup, to frank the form.
BRIGHT LIGHT confirmed her superiority over the juveniles when twice defeating Gallant Rock in both of her subsequent efforts, giving the talented colt 10lbs and 15lbs (carrying 133 lbs & 140 lbs), in her respective races. The Classifiers moved the filly from F I to C2 after this meeting, the biggest single promotion ever given to a juvenile creole on record.
BRIGHT LIGHT returned to competition at 3, when again defeating Gallant Rock by 5 lengths in the Easter Guineas at Union Park. She had also trounced the 'C' Class - Monro and Farren Star, at the said Easter Meeting, then headed to the Queen's Park Savannah to contest the Second Leg of the Triple Crown - the Trial Stakes, which she won easily by 4 lengths from First Admiral. Another victory over First Admiral followed in the Barbados Derby Stakes at the Garrison, then it was back to Trinidad and on to the Arima Savannah, to win the Arima Derby Trial Stakes by 4 lengths from Jetsam's fine son Meditation.
At the 1952 Christmas Meeting, BRIGHT LIGHT crowned a glorious season by taking the Trinidad Derby Stakes over arch-rivals Gallant Rock and First Admiral.
The effects of a hard season and travelling between the islands by boat must have taken its toll, as the filly was unplaced in her next two starts, both against the top class, in the Stewards Cup won by Footmark (1950 Derby winner), and the Imperial Handicap for the B & Cl horses won by Chandra.
At 4, BRIGHT LIGHT made seven trips to the starting tapes.
At the Easter Meeting she was a creditable fourth in the Leaseholds Plate (7F), for the A & B class won by Royal Windsor from Musketoon 11 and Astrion. Her lone success came that season on May 23, 1953 at the Garrison for the Coronation Meeting, scoring a fine victory in the Coronation Cup for nominated creoles when packing 134 lbs, and defeating the Barbados Guineas heroine Dunquerque (a daughter of Belledune, 1943 Derby winner) who received 20 lbs. BRIGHT LIGHT swan song came on May 30 when runner up in the Princess Alice Handicap for the A & B Class, to the good mare Ardena, to whom she gave 5 lbs and was beaten a length.
The great Burning Bow filly entered the winner's circle 13 times from 25 outings, was placed 7 times, and earned $30,404.47. She won no less than six Classics at 2 & 3 in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. At stud, BRIGHT LIGHT was quite successful. Her first foal was Spy Ring by Spy Legend, winner of the 1957 Breeders Stakes, and Classic placed at 3 in the Easter Guineas, Trial Stakes and Trinidad Derby Stakes. In turn Spy Ring bred Ingrid B and Oropuna (winner to 'C' Class) the first creole to earn $ 1 00,000.00 in stakes in Trinidad and Tobago. BRIGHT LIGHT also produced Forest Bright, the leading juvenile of Barbados in 1964 and winner of the Barbados Guineas in 1965.
The Felicitas line, from which is descended yet another great Trinidad Derby winner Royal Visit, successful in 1969, has unfortunately not survived to the present day. Top of Page
The very respected Caribbean Turf historian Trevor Gale, rates DARJEELING(9th of his top dozen) among the very best winners of the Barbados Derby, which has had fifty-six renewals to date. His assessment of Excellent, also attributed to the likes of Television, Entry Badge,Vintage and Water Lily, pays tribute to this high class three year old of 1954.
DARJEELING was bred by Stewart Massiah at Springhead Plantation in Barbados. A son of Dewhurst Stakes winner and 2,000 Guineas third Pride Of India,DARJEELING was first foal of the English bred mare Fair Jo, later to achieve further fame with three Derby winners including a second Triple Crown heroine.
DARJEELING appeared for the first time on August 1, 1953, First Day of the Barbados Turf Club’s Summer Meeting - Derby Day, in the Juvenile Stakes over 51/2F. In a close finish, the Lou Fisher owned gelding defeated Wedding Samba by a head. DARJEELING was to rattle off an unbeaten four win sequence including the Trumpeter Cup (51/2F), in three of these over his arch-rival Wedding Samba; before crossing the seas to Trinidad to contest the Breeders Stakes (6F) on Boxing Day, in which he was the short priced favourite. As has happened so often, DARJEELING met one going better, none other than his rival Wedding Samba, who beat him a length in scoring his maiden success.
He did however score once at the Christmas Meeting, but was also unplaced and fourth in his two other starts, his armoury exposed.
At 3 DARJEELING made twelve appearances both at home in Barbados and in Trinidad. The Fair Jo gelding won six of these, commencing with the Barbados Guineas (71/2F) defeating Fritsam; the Easter Guineas (7F) over Kandy; Trial Stakes (6F) from Re Assurance: Barbados Derby Stakes (9F) by 7 lengths from Diamond and Cotton Seed, and the Trinidad Derby Stakes (I in & 130 yds) in a very close finish defeating Grecian Sun by ½ length with Wedding Samba and Mount Gay short heads away in third and fourth respectively. In each instance Frank O’Neil was astride.
DARJEELING thus had won the five major Classics for 3 year olds in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, a feat unsurpassed since.
At 4, the 1954 Triple Crown winner scored twice, both against the D & E Class at the Easter Meeting in Trinidad, but went winless thereafter and through the following season, though placed seven times from fourteen outings at 5.
In his final season at 6, DARJEELING won both his starts at the Tobago Race Club’s Spring Meeting in February 1957, in the first of these defeating the 1953 Derby winner Flying Saucer and 1953 Easter Guineas heroine Faerie Queene.
DARJEELING did not race again, and is recorded to have died subsequently.
The Fair Jo gelding was brilliant at 2 & 3 winning 11 races, for a career total of 15 successes, 13 placings - 43 outings and earnings of $38,849.97. Top of Page
Little did Lou Fisher, Stewart Massiah and the team at Springhead realise that turf history would be created by the end of the 1958 season with a third Trinidad Derby winner (Fair Chance won in 1956 her only success at 3 for good measure) and a second Triple Crown hero, all from their fabulous ‘blue hen’ Fair Jo.
SHALIMAR was a moderate juvenile, placing third once from five outings, in the West Indian Handicap (6F) at the 1957 Trinidad Turf Club’s Christmas Meeting, behind Valerie and Fair Flier.
At 3, the Fair Jo filly won four of her twelve starts which included the three races comprising the Triple Crown - the Easter Guineas from ldleways and Spy Ring, at odds of 9/1, the Trial Stakes defeating Gold Crown, and the Trinidad Derby Stakes from Spy Ring and Star Gazer. Her other success came on January 4, 1959, after the Derby, defeating, Placidity and Faerie Queene in an E & F Class event over the extended mile.
SHALIMAR never regained her classic form and did not win again. At 4, she managed three third placings from six outings, and was retired to stud; first in Grenada, and then Barbados where she begot her best progeny, the winners - Belle Babu and very useful Sea Wolf a winner to ‘C’ class. Through her Grenadian foaled filly Fair Lady by Just Verdict, descends the 1976 Nursery Stakes winner Chela by Dollar View, in turn dam of the useful ‘E’ class winner Royal Dollar.
Fair Jo, foaled in 1946 was by Fairfax a son of the great sire Fairway, out of Empress Josephine.
SHALIMAR won 4 and was placed 8 times from 23 starts and earned $22,511.13.
As a half brother to the previous year’s Derby winner Perfect Jet, and the useful 2 y.o. of 1956 Atonement, winner of the Futurity Stakes; HAPPY LANDING had a lot to live up to in order to at least maintain the fortunes of the Scarva family.
HAPPY LANDING’S career began on October 3, 1959 when contesting a division of the Futurity Stakes. The chestnut son of Orly was runner up on this occasion, going down by a length to the grey Silver Spruce, also making his debut. Two more efforts followed, when a neck runner-up again, this time to Sundess, a week following his initial outing; and then unplaced in the prestigious Breeders Stakes on Boxing Day, won by Lady Pandit from Barbados.
1960 was however HAPPY LANDING’S year. He opened his classic campaign at Union Park with a 31/2 length win in the Apex Plate (5F) for 3 year old Colts & Geldings, before taking the Easter Guineas by 21/2 lengths over his old rival Silver Spruce. He re-appeared next in the Trial Stakes (6F) at the Summer Meeting, winning by 6 lengths from Sundess and Silver Spruce, and was twice runner - up at the meeting. HAPPY LANDING then raced unbeaten with five victories, among which included the Arima Derby Trial Stakes, Trinidad Derby Stakes and South Caribbean Handicap. He was undoubtedly the Champion 3 year old of his generation; having won eight of his ten outings with two seconds, though disqualified on one of these occasions.
HAPPY LANDING had only nine starts subsequently over the next three seasons, scoring once at 4 against the C2 & C3 bunch. His final racecourse appearance was on November 2, 1963 at Union Park, when aged 6, was third to his illustrious stablemate Aurelian in the Anchor Special Handicap over 6 furlongs. Aurelian was to win the Trinidad Derby Stakes six weeks later and also the Triple Crown.
HAPPY LANDING earned $31, 933.00 for his 9 successes, 6 placings from 20 outings and ended his career in C2.
Owned by Mr. J. C. Cummings throughout his career, HAPPY LANDING is the fifth foal produced by Scarva (Museum/Ladytown). The family survives through Scurva’s daughter Timarette (by Timar 11), from which Lucky Slipper (Scorcher/Silver Slipper (Rusty Slipper/Timarette) descends. Lucky Slipper has bred the ‘G’ Class winner and placed filly Squatters’ Guest; the only foal sired by the moderate imported Pradera.