Turned to Gold, Fast Return big winners at Boxing Day races

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Turned to Gold has a had a successful run in her short time on the V.I. horse racing scene, and added to that success Wednesday. With jockey Miguel Sanchez aboard, Turned to Gold won the $14,000 Big Gyal Rule Stakes, which was the ninth race in an exciting 11-race Boxing Day race card at Randall "Doc" James racetrack on St. Croix.

Turned to Gold ran the 1⅛ mile distance in 1 minute and 50.2 seconds to take the third and final leg of the Mare and Filly Triple Crown Classic. She won the first leg of the Classic in her territorial debut at the Labor Day Races on Sept. 2.

Lea the Punisher placed and Ohbabyobeyme finished third in show.

The other big purse of the day resided in Race No. 8 - the HOVENSA Cup - which was worth $13,900, and was the final leg of the V.I. Triple Crown Classic. Fast Return, with jockey Jose Hernandez aboard, finished the 1⅛ mile distance in 1:57.4 for the win, followed by Cruzan Emerald and Gold Demarshe.

The turnout at "Doc" James Racetrack on Wednesday was a good one, but not as strong as it usually is, according to TRAXCO general manger Dennis Brow.

"It was reasonable," said Brow. "Due to the races on Tortola, and Slevin going over to race Really Up Town, the usual crowd from St. Thomas didn't attend."

Those who were in attendance, whether fully rested or coming over from Mon Bijou J'ouvert, got their fill of St. Croix racing, which won't return to action until the Agricultural Fair Weekend races on Feb. 17.

The day began with Winston Hurst riding Crystal Blessing to a win in Race No. 1, covering the five furlongs in 1:02 and taking the lion's share of the $7,800 purse. Miss Evadney's Pride placed and Delilah was in show.

Australis Forever, with Jesus Guadeloupe aboard, won Race No. 2, covering the seven furlongs in 1:25 for the $8,000 purse. Clutch finished second, followed by Lost Explorer.

Wilfredo Gotay jockeyed Joyful Minister over one mile to a win in Race No. 3 in 1:37.4 to take most of the $8,500 purse. Blast of Macho placed, while A Bit of Madness showed.

The next three races also covered one mile. Angel Hernandez rode Simon Sez Run to a win in the $8,700 Race 4 in 1:38, followed by Drink at Last Call and A Bit of Madness. Joe Boss and jockey Brian Gonzalez won Race No. 5 - the Myron Johannes Memorial - in 1:42.1 for the $9,000 purse, with Creation Rebel in place and Midnight Indictment in show, while the $9,300 Cruzan Rum Classic went to Gotay aboard Plotter in 1:38. According to Jesus was second and Beantown was third.

Hurst got his second win of the day aboard Winning Actor as they raced to victory in Race No. 7 in 1:11.2 over six furlongs to win the $9,700 Emerald K Hot Rod Special over Gato Paso and Bambi Bound.

Race No. 10 was dubbed the Dennis Brow Farewell Christmas Classic, with this being Brow's final race card as general manager of TRAXCO after eight years. St. Thomas' Twisted Dream, with Miguel Sanchez aboard, covered the 1-1/16 mile distance in 1:43.1 to claim the winner's share of the $12,300 purse. Puertorican Emblem placed and Mister Unitas was in show.

"It's been a great eight years - a lot of hard work," said Brow. "I'm proud. We've taken the industry to the best it's ever been. I think I've set the foundation for the next person to build off of.

"I'd like to thank the racing fans, owners, the race commission and the TRAXCO employees for all their hard work and contributions."

Elmo Barnes and Apron Dance concluded the day with a win in Race No. 11 as they rode to victory in 1:46.1 over 1-1/16 of a mile for most of the $8,200 purse. Donna Gonga finished second, and Estrella Del Ria was third.

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