Fifty-two-year-old trainer Derick Mosca became the toast of Santa Rosa Park when he achieved his lifelong dream of training a Derby winner by saddling Free Passage to win the CNG Derby on Monday, Republic Day at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. Mosca was always bullish about the chances of the Juan Navarro-owned gelding and was ecstatic about the thoroughbred’s victory. He said: “In my 21 years as a trainer, this is the best horse I have trained. We had a plan for him and we worked to plan. “We know he was undefeated in his career on the main track and every run that he has had, he has improved. I remember telling you eight days ago that the first time he worked 12 seconds to the furlong was his last gallop over 1,000 metres, when he galloped home in one minute.
“He has never before galloped faster than 14 seconds to the furlong. “I am elated that Free Passage maintained that unblemished record (five from five) in the premier event for three-year-olds. He also gave owner Juan Navarro and jockey Lionel Ramos their first Derby success in the prestigious event 2,000-metres. I was really aiming to run 1-2 but Onetokeep kept me out.” Mosca said that top rider Nobel Abrego who rode Free Passage prior to the Derby said that he was going to win the Derby with the horse. “Unfortunately, he was not aboard, but certainly he has an eye for Derby winners. Jody Arneaud stated to me some months ago that if there was a horse he wished to ride in the Derby, it would be Free Passage. “They were all correct. I want to thank my staff for a great job. It could not happen for a better owner.” Owner Navarro was clearly overjoyed and paid tribute to Mosca, rider Ramos and his grooms. He stated, “I have been in racing since the early 80’s and words cannot express how I feel today to lead in my first Derby winner. This is absolutely fantastic.
“ The trainer was very confident and said when they straightened up, we will see who will stay and which horse will quicken. He was correct. Free Passage ran on best of all. “I know what the pressure is like going into the Derby and now it is over, we can rock back and enjoy the glory. Ramos once again proved that he is a top-class rider and since his arrival we have won more than ten races in three race days. He was simply superb. He exuded confidence in much the same way that Mosca did.”
On returning to the winner’s enclosure Ramos said he always confident that he was going to win. “I wasn’t worried because I knew what I had under me. I rode him before and knew what we he can do. “When the favourite took up the running and I was some eight lengths off the lead, I was not worried. I had ridden him before and knew he is a very good horse. “I saw the gap on the rail and wasn’t afraid to go for it because I knew the condition of the track was good and this is an exceptional horse.”