TORONTO, Canada – West Indian jockeys stood out over the weekend in North America with several Barbadians taking the spotlight. Seven-time champion Patrick Husbands won twice yesterday at the Woodbine track in Toronto but missed out in the feature races to come away without any added-money success on the nine-race card.
Husbands, who will celebrate his 45th birthday next week Tuesday, won race four with favourite Royal Creed and returned in race six to win with 3-1 choice Sanity.
However, he barely missed out in the main feature, the CAN$150 000 Grade III Marine Stakes, when he finished three-quarter lengths behind winner O’Kratos, aboard 4-1 bet Machtree.
Husbands stalked from the rear of the pack in the event over a mile and sixteenth but still managed to produce a strong stretch rally despite losing his whip at the top of the lane.
He also came up short in the $100 000 New Providence Stakes over six furlongs, finishing third with Goldoldhockeygame behind winner Pink Lloyd.
Husbands found success, however, in an optional claiming race over six furlongs when he made nearly all the running aboard three-year-old chestnut gelding Royal Creed to beat the three-year-olds by a neck.
He duelled early on with Wedgewood, got clear in the upper stretch before fending off a late challenge from second-placed Stormfuhr.
His second win was also over six furlongs in an allowance event, this time guiding four-year-old bay filly Sanity to victory by 1-1/2 lengths over the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares.
Husbands settled in mid-pack before kicking on in the stretch, overhauling pacesetter Goldrush Glory – ridden by older brother Simon Husbands – and dominating the final sixteenth.
In Edmonton on Saturday, seven-time reigning champion Rico Walcott won twice as he continued his in-form start to the new season at Northlands Park.
The 28-year-old Barbadian collected wins in race four with favourite Sweet River Dreams and in race eight with another odds-on bet Gotta Get Lucky.
Overall, Walcott has won six times in 21 starts in the new season which got underway May 5.
Fellow Barbadian Damario Bynoe was also in winner’s row, partnering with 8-1 choice Wheelsupinthirty to beat the three-year-old and upward maiden fillies and mares over six furlongs in race three, with a front-running effort.
Jamaican Andre Martin tasted success as well, guiding 9-1 outsider Pop’s Little Girl to a narrow gate-to-wire victory over the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares, going six furlongs in race six.
However, it was Walcott who took most of the spotlight as he continued his quest for an unprecedented eighth riding title.
He opened his account over six furlongs, making all the running with Sweet River Dreams to beat the three-year-old and upward maiden fillies and mares by six lengths in a six-furlong sprint.
Walcott was already four lengths clear with the three-year-old chestnut filly at the half and pulled away in the late stages to be free of any challengers.
His second victory came over the same distance when he piloted five-year-old roan gelding Gotta Get Lucky to a 1-1/4 length score over the three-year-old and upwards.
Crossroads Kid and Aberdeen Time disputed the lead through the half before Walcott brought Gotta Get Lucky from off the pace to dominate late on.
In Auburn, Washington, the new Emerald Downs season may be barely three weeks old but already two-time defending champion Rocco Bowen is showing early signs of another dominant campaign.
On Saturday, the Barbadian rode a double on the eight-race card, to move his tally for the new season to 14 wins from 52 starts. He is eight clear of Gary Wales and Austin Solis, both on six wins.
Bowen claimed his first win in a 5-1/2 furlong sprint in race two, making all the running aboard favourite Sea Basket to beat the three-year-old maiden fillies by 4-1/4 lengths.
The pair fended off an early challenge from Fortune’s Freude before getting clear in the stretch to reach the wire uncontested.
Bowen’s second victory came aboard 4-1 chance Lovethisbar in race three over six furlongs, as the pair dismissed the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 1-1/4 lengths.
The pair survived a bump at the start with Merveilleuse, duelled with McDove before pulling ahead inside the final furlong to take the wire first.