Sports

If ever there was a Classic horse, Earn Your Stripes is one – Anthony Nunes

BY HURBUN WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Friday, February 15, 2019

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EARN Your Stripes (Nuclear Wayne – Brown Sugar) began his preparation for the upcoming Classic series of races with a nine-length victory in a Restricted Allowance event for native-bred three-year-olds non-winners of two that included imported three-year-old and upward maidens at Caymanas Park on Saturday last (February 9).

The one-mile (1,600m) event was used as an assessment run to evaluate the progress of Earn Your Stripes, one of the top contenders for the Classics.

The chestnut colt responded well to the challenging test by easily putting away rivals in a time of 1:39.2.

It was the first race in 2019 for Earn Your Stripes since placing third behind Run Thatcher Run and Supreme Soul in last December's Supreme Ventures Limited Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over the same distance of a mile.

In the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, Earn Your Stripes blazed the early trail in a demanding remote-control fashion before burning out in the straight, but this time he sat behind the pace and made his move from three furlongs (600m) out and just kept on going and going until the wire intervened.

According to trainer Anthony Nunes, this was the tactic he needed his charge to adopt going forward for Earn Your Stripes to be effective in the big races coming up in mid-April.

“We are pleased with the performance because since December we have been trying to train Earn Your Stripes to relax behind horses. We know he has tremendous speed and he can carry it a long way as he did on Boxing Day which was a little unfortunate as he went 1:10.0 for the first six furlong and Run Thatcher Run and Supreme Soul went by him.

Earn Your Stripes is maturing and we have really been concentration on getting him to relax and we decided we were going to try it today, (Saturday) even though he was drawn on the inside and Rob (Robert Halledeen) rode him beautifully.

“He [Halledeen] came out and let the other horses engage on the front end and settled him [ Earn Your Stripes] on the outside and he stalked nicely and when he (Halledeen) was ready, he put him through at the three-furlong marker and he ( Earn Your Stripes) did what he was supposed to do,” Nunes offered.

When queried to give his plans for the upcoming Classic races, Nunes said the main issue at this time was the health of his horse.

“We have to keep him healthy and sound but if ever there was a Classic horse, Earn Your Stripes is the one.

“More than likely we will be heading to the Trials next month, the Prince Consort Stakes and hopefully we will move on from there,” Nunes shared.

Duke (Anthony Thomas), who was outpaced early in the race, came with a strong run in deep stretch for second place, with Dyna's Pride (Trevor Simpson) getting third and Phenom (Dane Nelson), who led the field at a merry clip, ended in fourth.


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