TORONTO, Canada – Veteran Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands took his share of the headlines at Woodbine yesterday when he rode two winners on the day’s 10-race card.
The 44-year-old opened his account in race five over seven furlongs with 3-5 favourite Southern Greatness before returning to the winner’s enclosure with another odds-on bet in race seven with Bayerd.
Husbands, a seven-time champion at the prestigious western Canada oval, has 10 wins from 38 rides to be second in the early standings behind Rafael Hernandez on 22.
Winless in two previous rides on the day, Husbands struck success in his third time of asking when he carried four-year-old bay gelding Southern Greatness to a 1-1/4 length win over the three-year-old and upward maidens.
Challenged through the first quarter by Court Battle and Athena’s Legacy, Husbands got Southern Greatness to the front coming off the turn, dismissed Monetary System in the stretch and took the wire full of running.
Husbands’ second win came in another seven-furlong trip when he partnered with six-year-old bay horse Bayerd to beat the three-year-olds and upward by a neck.
Going off at odds of 9-5, Husbands sent Bayerd immediately to front pressured by Slip Kid, with Undulated also making good headway along the rails.
The trio were joined by Thor’s Rocket and hit the final stretch in an all-out four-way battle for the lead but Husbands got the best out of Bayerd in the dying yards.
In Edmonton on Saturday, fellow Barbadian jockey Rico Walcott started his quest for an unprecedented eighth Northlands Park title in style when he scored with three winners on the season-opening card.
The 28-year-old opened his account in race two with favourite Chianti, followed up in race three with 2-1 choice Clarence before also snatching race nine aboard odds-on bet Blue Dancer.
He narrowly missed out on a fourth win in race eight aboard 4-1 choice Serendipity when he was edged by half-length by favourite Pacioretty, ridden by Barbadian counterpart and former multiple-time Northlands champion, Quincy Welch.
Walcott, coming off 94 wins and CAN$1.1 million in earnings last season, continued where he left off by striking success as early as the day’s second event over six furlongs.
He made all the running as he carried five-year-old brown mare Chianti to a 1-1/4 length victory over the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares.
His win in race three in another six-furlong trip was another front-running effort as he guided three-year-old gelding Clarence to a dominant 4-1/4 length victory over the three-year-olds.
Walcott was forced to wait for his third win before finally finding it late on the 10-race card, partnering with six-year-old brown gelding Blue Dancer in yet another gate-to-wire effort, to dismiss the three-year-old and upward by 1-1/2 lengths.
There was also success on the day’s card for the Jamaican pair of Shamaree Muir and Dane Nelson. While Muir took race six over six furlongs with 4-1 chance Gilly Gilly, Nelson scored in race seven, also over six furlongs, with favourite Jax On who he piloted to a commanding 6-3/4 length victory over the three-year-old maidens.
At Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington Sunday, two-time reigning champion and Barbadian jockey, Rocco Bowen, rebounded from a barren day on Saturday to land three winners yesterday and get his title defence up and running.
The 28-year-old scored in race one with Rojo Bou Peep, in race two with Jake’s a Poppin before following up with his final victory in the last race of the day aboard Come Find Me.
Bowen, the first Barbadian to win a jockey’s title in the United States, now has 10 wins from 37 rides in the new season which got underway on April 22 – already five clear of the second-placed Austin Solis.
With just one win in six rides on Saturday’s nine-race card, Bowen quickly made amends. His opening success came in a 5-1/2 furlong sprint in the day’s curtain-raiser, when he guided four-year-old chestnut gelding Rojo Bou Peep to a 3-1/2 length victory over the three-year-olds and upward.
Going off as the odds-on bet, Bowen stalked the leaders before assuming command nearing the three-sixteenth pole and drawing off handsomely.
His second victory came over the same distance when he partnered 3-1 choice Jake’s a Poppin in a front-running victory over the three-year-olds and upward.
The pair duelled with 11-1 outsider Tybee Island through the half run in 45.49 seconds before edging clear late on.
Bowen’s final win was also a gate-to-wire performance, as he guided 7-1 chance Come Find Me to a handsome 3-1/2 length score over the three-year-old maiden fillies.