VANCOUVER, Canada – High-profile Barbadian jockey Rico Walcott produced a classy ride aboard red-hot favouriteAlliford Bay, to win the co-feature CAN$50 000 Vancouver Sun Stakes at Hastings racetrack yesterday.
The pair made all the running over the 6-1/2 furlong trip to beat the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by three lengths in a time of one minute, 17.22 seconds.
For the Blaine Wright-trained four-year-old bay filly, it was her second added-money win in as many months after taking the Brighhouse Belles here last month.
Walcott broke Alliford Bay smartly and put her to the front to post decent splits of 22.78 seconds for the quarter and 46.40 for the half-mile, withTouching Promisechallenging from second andYukon BellandCurlish Figurein contention.
The frontrunner accelerated leaving the final turn, and there was no doubt about the result as Walcott drew off impressively in the stretch.
There was no success, however, for the seven-time Northlands Park reigning champion in the other feature, the George Royal Stakes, as he finished one from last with 15-1 choiceSilvertown.
Fellow Barbadian jockey Rocco Bowen had a good weekend in Auburn, Washington.
On Sunday, Bowen won his 26th added-money race at Emerald Downs when he produced a strong late charge aboard 6-5 choiceIma Happy Catto win the US$50 000 Selene Stakes.
Going six furlongs, he stalked the pace-setter and favouriteBella Miabefore dominating the stretch run to reach the wire 2-1/2 lengths clear in a time of one minute, 9.68 seconds.
The victory marked the first stakes success for the three-year-old roan filly and the first of the new season for Bowen, who moved into sixth on the all-time list alongside Gary Baze.
Bella Mia andBrilliant Birdduelled early on as they hammered out fractions of 21.76 seconds for the quarter and 44.37 for the half mile.
Ima Happy Cat, bumped at the start, found her best strike nearing the seven-sixteenth pole before reeling in the leaders in a superb stretch run.
“She’s just a real quality filly,” said trainer Dan Markle.
Bella Mia, who won three stakes last year, held on for second place.
Bowen, the two-time reigning Emerald Downs champion and current leader, picked up his second win on the nine-race card when he carried favouriteMintenizedto a 1-3/4 length victory in race seven.
In another six-furlong trip, Bowen and the five-year-old gelding duelled withElger’s Thornthrough the first quarter before drawing off to take charge.
On Saturday Bowen continued to lay the groundwork for a third successive triumph in the US Pacific Northwest when he reeled off three wins at Emerald Downs.
The 28-year-old captured race three withMister Breeze, won race four withSolemnly Swearbefore wrapping up his haul in race six aboardBriana Jean.
Coming off a last-place finish in race two with 7-2 betOur Clementine, Bowen rebounded well when he carried hot favourite Mister Breeze to a dominant 5-1/2 length victory over the three-year-olds and upward in a 5-1/2 furlong sprint.
They stalked leaderLord Waltonfrom the rails before grabbing the lead at the three-sixteenth and drawing off impressively.
Bowen collected his second win of the eight-race card when he combined with seven-year-old bay gelding Solemnly Swear to beat the three-year-olds and upward by 3-1/2 lengths.
Onboard yet another hot favourite, Bowen stalked the pace from third asYou Mad Broset the pace, before storming to the front nearing the three-sixteenth and once again dominating the late stretch run.
For his third win, Bowen teamed up with odds-on bet Briana Jean to make all the running and trounce the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 4-1/4 lengths, in a six-furlong trip.
Meanwhile, Barbadian riding star Patrick Husbands was also making news on Saturday. He snatched the CAN$150 000 Grade III Selene Stakes as part of a triple at the prestigious Woodbine race track.
Paired with Gary Barber’s 5-1 betMiss Mo Mentumin the mile and sixteenth trip in race eight, the seven-time champion came with his now trademark late run to out-duel 8-5 favouriteDixie Moonand win by a neck in a time of one minute, 42.36 seconds.
Up against her fellow three-year-old fillies, the dark bay trailed the eight-horse field through the first turn asRemember Daisyset the pace withGet Explicitstalking and the rest of the field in pursuit.
Husbands began his move on the backstretch, moving the filly up along the rails heading towards the three-eighths pole and was in contention coming off the final turn.
However, he found himself trapped for racing room behind a tiring Remember Daisy and had nowhere to go at the top of the lane. Dixie Moon picked up the running but Husbands expertly drove Miss Mo Mentum through a seam, caught the favourite in mid-stretch and got the better of her in the dying yards.
Earlier on the 10-race card, Husbands also tasted success. He had opened his account in race six over six furlongs with 8-11 betConquest Swagman, guiding the four-year-old colt to a stunning 6-1/2 length victory over the three-year-olds and upward.
The veteran followed up in race five with 8-15 chanceBlack Canaryas they trounced the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 5-1/2 lengths in seven-furlong contest.