Husbands, Walcott brilliant in Canada
TORONTO, Canada – Veteran Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands extended his recent good form at the Woodbine racetrack when he landed a triple on Saturday’s 10-race card.
The 43-year-old, closing in on 100 wins for yet another season, picked up victories in race two with favourite Missy Crissy, in race five with another favourite Miss Tiago before also claiming the day’s final race with Marcherdowntheally.
Husbands has 85 wins for the season as Eurico Rosa da Silva continues out front on 157 wins, with Luis Contreras second on 120.
A seven-time champion at the celebrated western Canada racetrack, Husbands opened his account in style when he produced a front-running effort aboard dark bay filly Missy Crissy to slam the two-year-old maidens by 7-1/4 lengths.
Going a mile and sixteenth, Husbands and Missy Crissy set an easy pace from off the rail, laying down fractions of 25.04 seconds for the quarter and 49.78 for the half. Once in the stretch, the pair widened their lead and there was no challenger in sight at the wire.
Husbands followed up in race five over a mile and eighth when he brought four-year-old chestnut filly Miss Tiago from off the pace to trounce the three-year-old and upwards by six lengths.
Two-to-one chance Donnas Sweet Heart led by nearly four lengths at the half-mile but Husbands swept Miss Tiago from third into contention in the stretch and stormed to the finish to win handily.
Husbands then brought the curtain down on the day’s proceedings by steering 5-1 bet Marcherdowntheally to a 1-3/4 lengths victory over the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares in a six furlong trip.
Husbands settled the four-year-old chestnut filly mid-pack as Prized Bourbon set the early pace. He then bid in the stretch, grabbed the lead a furlong out and eased to the wire in style.
The Woodbine season wraps up December 4.
Meanwhile fellow Barbadian jockey Rico Walcott celebrated his sixth straight Northlands Park title in Edmonton on Saturday when he partnered with 5-1 chance Royal Warrior to win the $50 000 Harvest Gold Plate Handicap at the western Canada racetrack.
The success was the 27-year-old’s lone victory on the season-ending 11-race card but it was of academic interest, as the five-time defending champion had sewn up the championship months before after having opened up a huge lead.
Walcott ended the 5-1/2 month campaign with 99 wins, a whopping 40 ahead of the second placed Jamaican Dane Nelson who ended on 59.
Trinidadian Keishan Balgobin clinched third spot with 58 while multiple time former champion, Barbadian Quincy Welch, finished fourth on 49 wins.
Entering the day already assured of title honours, Walcott produced an exciting ride in race 10 when he brought the six-year-old gelding Royal Warrior with a late run to beat the three-year-old and upwards by three-quarter lengths in time of one minute, 43.77 seconds.
“We weren’t going a mile and three eighths this time so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to catch Blue Dancer and Killin Me Smalls,” Walcott said.
“I asked him to run a little sooner than usual and he just took off.”
Going a mile and sixteenth, the pair settled at the rear from the break as 2-1 chance Blue Dancer, with Welch aboard, hammered out the early splits with 23.71 seconds for the quarter and 47.05 for the half.
Favourite Killin Me Smalls, with Balgobin in the irons, stalked from second with Nelson’s Corky’s Luck sitting third.
Walcott roused Royal Warrior at the three-eighths and he responded gamely, entering the stretch full of run but still trailing the front-runner by nearly five lengths.
However, they steadily wore down Blue Dancer to barely get up in time to grab the win in the final yards.
Walcott, the younger brother of multiple-time former champion, Rickey Walcott, also finished with CAN$1.1 million in winnings to be only jockey to crack the million-dollar mark.
His performance this season was the least dominant in recent campaigns. Last season, he racked up 139 wins and $1.4 million in winnings and in 2014, logged 141 victories and $1.7 million in winnings.
Jamaican Shamaree Muir, in his first international season, finished an credible sixth with 38 wins while Damario Bynoe was 11 back in ninth spot.