Sports

The trainer told me not to drop off and I did not – David McKenzie

Veteran reinsman becomes oldest rider at 69 years to win a race at Caymanas Parke Veteran reinsman becomes oldest rider at 69 years to win a race at Caymanas Park

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer writer

Friday, February 15, 2019

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DAVID “Scorcher” McKenzie was again on the end of creating history as the veteran jockey, who is 69 years-old, became the oldest rider to win a race at Caymanas Park after he guided home Messi to victory in last Saturday's (February 9) second race.

Messi, trained by Philip Feanny, won the maiden condition race for native-bred four-year-olds and upward by four lengths ahead of Lazer Light and Pure Heart. The winning time was 1:21.3 after Messi made all the running while setting splits 24.3, 49.0 and 1:14.2.

“The trainer (Philip Feanny) told me that I should get a good break, don't lick down anybody and most importantly, I must not drop off and that was what I did, I stayed on board and did not drop off.

“When I came into the lane, I heard the roar from the crowd in the stands and so I knew that someone was coming for me.

“I took a look under my arm and that was when I saw Lazer Light and Dane Nelson and I just changed the whip from my right hand to my left hand and I gave the big horse [ Messi] a couple of cracks and he just went home.

“I have to give the owner (MS Stables) and trainer thanks for this magical and historical moment in my career. I appreciate the support and belief,” said McKenzie, who was inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Jamaica on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

McKenzie's win surpassed the oldest win by a jockey at Cayamanas Park, which was held by the late Vassell Najair who won at age 64 aboard Ras Emanuel for trainer Peter McMaster on August 7, 2017.

“I feel good. The feeling is very good at the moment. This is the best thing mi feel but still is the owner and the trainer must get the most praise.

“The trainer knows that I worked hard with this horse [ Messi], the trainer is the man, he is my trainer and is a very long time now, I don't win a race, many, many years.

“From my brother died in 2012, I never asked a man for a ride. The 'maestro' (Philip Feanny) was the only man that called me and put me on horses. My body feels good as I get up on horses every morning,” McKenzie told this reporter.

McKenzie was born into a racing family with his mother (the late Rita McKenzie), father (Alty McKenzie) and brother Donald all involved in racing. McKenzie first mounted a horse when he was just six years old.

He began his career as a jockey in 1963 with his first winner being Saint Valentine. McKenzie has now ridden 276 winners from 2,465 mounts. His winners included a 2000 Guineas victory aboard Royal Crest in 1970, for trainer Ralph Zaidie in the 1970s.

“It was natural for me to seek a profession in the sport of horse racing. I have been involved in the game from I was a little boy growing up, and the more I went to the track, the more I got attached to the sport.

“My father was a trainer of racehorses, my mother made the riding colours (racing silks) for owners, my grandfather was a jockey, so was my uncle, and my brother was a trainer and a jockey.

“Horse racing runs through the family as you can see, so it came as no surprise that I would get involved in the racing industry. I started my career as a rider in 1963 and I have been part of the sport ever since,” he said.

When asked how long will he remain in the saddle, McKenzie said: “I don't know and I can't tell because I am looking for my trainer's licence and I know the 'maestro' will help me.”


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