Husbands still battling for title
Don’t write Patrick Husbands off just yet.
The highly rated Barbadian rider produced a magnificent triple on yesterday’s ten-race card –– including the capture of the CAN$232,000 Bessarabian Stakes –– to storm back into contention in the heated race for the jockeys’ title at the prestigious racing oval in Toronto, Canada.
A couple lean returns last week had left Husbands trailing three-time defending champion Mexican Luis Contreras but the 41-year-old’s latest success saw him cut the deficit to just one.
Husbands lies second on 154 wins with Contreras on 155. The 2010 champion, Brazilian Eurico Rosa da Silva, sits in third on 131 victories.
Without a riding title at Woodbine in five years, Husbands enhanced his chances of breaking this trend when he opened his account in race three with 4-1 chance The Columbian Girl.
Going six furlongs for the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares, Husbands stalked with the chestnut filly before getting up late to win by three-quarter lengths.
Husbands followed up in race seven over 6-1/2 furlongs when he carried Bear’s Big Boy to a handsome victory over the three-year-olds and upward.
Going off as the favourite, Husbands raced the four-year-old bay gelding mid-pack before launching a determined drive in the stretch to win by three-quarter lengths.
His biggest win of the day came in the feature Bessarabian Stakes, a Grade 2 event, when he carried the Mark Casse-trained Hillaby to a superb win over the three-year-olds and upward fillies and mares in race eight.
Husbands pressed the pace with the four-year-old bay filly before grabbing the lead at the top of the lane and charging to the wire by 2-3/4 lengths, in a time of one minute, 21.24 seconds.
Hillaby, bred by Barbados-based Canadian business mogul Eugene Melnyk, is named after a community in the eastern parish of St Andrew.
The added money triumph followed on from Saturday’s success when Husbands captured the $125,000 South Ocean Stakes with favourite Galina Point.
He completed the mile and sixteenth trip with the two-year-old bay filly in a time of one minute, 47.35 seconds, to win by three-quarter lengths.
Husbands has a record 26 stakes wins for the Woodbine season.