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Husbands wins Queenston Stakes

husbandsTORONTO –  Conquest Enforcer, with Barbadian champion jockey Patrick Husbands in the saddle, left the field choking in his dust in the $150,000 (BDS$228, 718. 50) Queenston Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday afternoon.
And suddenly, everyone is talking about how the Mark Casse-trained bay may be the favourite to win the $1 million (BDS$1.524 million) Queen’s Plate on July 3 — that is if Casse decides to enter the Conquest Stables three-year-old in Canada’s most important race this summer.

Just a few days ago, Casse said it was doubtful that Conquest Enforcer would make it to the Plate.

“It would be a real long shot. I think he’s a very talented horse and I don’t want to get caught up in the rush,” said Casse. “When you have a horse of his calibre, if you’re not 100% happy, you just relax. That’s what we did.”

But after Saturday’s dominant performance in the Queenston Stakes, Casse may have second thoughts. Conquest Enforcer absolutely crushed the four-horse field in the seven furlong race for three-year-olds foaled in Canada.

“I tried to ride him like the best horse in the race,” said Husbands. “There was no pace down the backside, and he was a little bit bored. I wanted to get a little pressure down the backside with him, to squeeze him a little bit down the lane, but there was no pressure. He galloped out good.”

Conquest Enforcer set slow fractions of 24.08 and 47.69 seconds but began to draw away early in the stretch, and coasted home to win by 73/4 lengths, earning $94,500 (BDS$144,092) for the trip. Songs and Laughter finished second, and Ultraflame checked in third after a wide trip. The final time was 1:23.73.

“With him, it’s all about talent. You can’t take anything away from a good horse,” added Husbands, after winning his first Stakes of the Woodbine meet. “Only six weeks ago he worked his first three-eighths. He came into this race on pure talent.”

The reason why Casse has been reluctant to commit Conquest Enforcer to the Plate is because the son of Into Mischief by Keen Victory hadn’t raced since last Oct.11, when he won the Cup and Saucer Stakes at Woodbine by 63/4-lengths, ahead of Queen’s Plate contenders Butterfly Dance and Shakhimat. Shakhimat is the Winterbook favourite to win the Plate.

“After that race he didn’t cool out very well, he tied up very badly. We just wanted to give him some time off,” said Casse’s assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan on Saturday. “He’s a big, strong horse and it’s always been Mark’s philosophy not to rush them at two. This is the year we’re really excited about so we just wanted to give him some time off. (Owners) Ernie (Semersky) and Dory (Newell) were great in allowing us to give him that time. Because we really think this could be a Grade 1 horse. He’s a really impressive horse with everything he’s done so far, so we didn’t want to rush him.”

The question now is, if Casse does enter Conquest Enforcer in the Plate, can he handle the step up in length to 1 1/4 miles? Sullivan said they’ll cross that bridge when they get there, although she admitted Saturday that the colt’s impressive win in the Queenston will likely come into the equation when they discus whether he’ll be entered in the Plate.

“I think he looked great, he was moving well, he was fit enough so I don’t think we could rule it out by any means. Everything today went pretty well to plan,” said Sullivan, who laughed when asked what kind of personality the big colt has.

“He’s pretty high on himself. He think he’s pretty special, so he’s a little bit of a handful to work with,” she said. “But he’s a three-year-old colt, you know that goes along with the territory. But he’s not unkind, but he is just big, strong ready-to-go kind of horse.”

Conquest Enforcer’s first race was a Stakes race last Sept. 12 — the Grade 2 Summer Stakes, where he finished fourth. (Toronto Sun)

One Response to Husbands wins Queenston Stakes

  1. BoBoThe Clown May 22, 2016 at 11:30 am

    That was quite impressive.Patrick just went along for the ride and just hand rode the colt throughout .
    He sure looks like he can be a real player. We’ll see.
    Bo Bo knows a good thing when he sees it.


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