Jaramillo scores fourth Classico
Mano a Mano is Spanish and Portuguese meaning "hand to hand.", that describes any kind of competition between two people where they both compete trying to outdo each other, a perfect definition for the thrilling home stretch between Venezuela's El De Chine (Biloxi Palace -- Frances in Command by Deputy Commander) and Puerto Rican triple-crown winner Arquitecto (Hockenheim -- Coordinadora by Mister Jolie), ridden by two legendary jockeys of the region: 10-time Caribbean Series winner Emisael Jaramillo, in search for a record 4th Clasico win, and 12-time leading Puerto Rican rider Juan Carlos Diaz, winner of more than 3000 races, but winless in the Clasico. Once again, Jaramillo was able to find the necessary extra that makes the difference between winning and losing, to notch a 4th consecutive win for his native country (another record), in the main event of the Caribbean Breeders Series, the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe. Winning time was 1:52:69 for the 9-furlong distance.The Clasico was considered a wide-open race, with about 7-8 horses well bet by the fans that packed Camarero racetrack on a beautiful Sunday afternoon; El De Chine was made the favorite based on his stellar 9 wins out 10 starts campaign, six of them graded stakes wins, as well as the recent success enjoyed by Venezuela in the race. Arquitecto had failed to win a race in just two tries in the last 6 months, after capturing the Triple Crown in the spring. Trainer Jose D Velez Jr had to overcome the colt's recent bleeding problems that had cost him a win in the last qualifying race of his country, the Antonio Fernandez Castrillon Stakes, so there were plenty of doubts about his upcoming performance in the race. El De Chine was placed third along the rail and very near the lead, while Chao (VEN) and Eclaire (MEX) set the early 24'1-48'3 fractions, very similar tactics used by Jaramillo for his win in Saturday's Dama del Caribe aboard Guasca; Jaramillo was able to save ground the whole race, and took over the lead at the 4-furlong pole, still challenged by Eclaire, while Chao dropped out of contention. In the meantime, Diaz had to settle for the 5th path in the first turn, due to the 12 post chosen at the drawing for Arquitecto; they had foreseen a fast-scenario in front, and decided the outside was the place to be, strategy that seemed to be the winning one at the top of the stretch. As Diaz set sights on El De Chine in mid-stretch, Jaramillo moved El De Chine right next to Arquitecto, and the gritty grandson of the unforgettable Seattle Slew gave his skillful jockey one last surge to hold Arquitecto's charge. When considering the final winning margin of a neck, the difference in the quality of each horse's trip was probably the defining factor of one of the most exciting Caribbean Classics ever run. Winning trainer Juan Carlos Avila achieved his 3rd Caribbean Series win but first in the Clasico, and thanked the people of PR for their hospitality, while also recognizing Venezuelan Breeders achievements; Emisael Jaramillo had praise words for the winning efforts of the host country, and called for the unity of the region, while winning Breeder, Haras La Orlyana, enjoyed continued success in the most important races of the Caribbean, after having won the $100,000 Confraternity Cup the previous day with King Carlos Juan.