WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Veteran jockey Renaldo Cumberbatch shone with a triple but Trinidadian Prayven Badrie stole the supporting feature and Barbadian Antonio Whitehall grabbed a double to finish in a tie in the jockeys standings and secure their maiden riding titles in Canada, on a dramatic final day at Assiniboia Downs on Sunday.
Badrie began the eight-race card top of the standings on 40 wins after winning twice on Saturday to overtake Whitehall, who began the final day one behind in second.
However, while Badrie paired with favourite Rascal Candy to capture the CAN$25 000 Buffalo Stakes over a mile, he failed to land another winner and Whitehall’s brace meant both riders finished on 41 wins, to share the title.
Cumberbatch, also Barbadian, ended third with 39 wins while Jamaicans Tyrone Nelson (32) and Chavion Chow were fourth and sixth respectively.
Whitehall, who arrived at the racing venue two years ago, finished with winnings of $361 213 while Badrie ended on $309 344.
With everything up for grabs, it was Whitehall who landed the first blow when he partnered with favourite Tame the Beast to crush the two-year-old maidens by 6-1/4 lengths in a 5-1/2 furlong sprint in race one.
Badrie answered in race five with bay gelding Rascal Candy, making all the running to get the better of the two-year-olds to win by a length.
However, Whitehall produced a stalking ride in race six with 4-1 chance Soul Shaker to beat the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 2-1/4 lengths in a seven-furlong contest, and draw alongside Badrie in the standings for the final time.
Cumberbatch also made his presence felt on the day’s card, opening his account with victory aboard favourite Sea My Moves in race four over 5-1/2 furlongs, beating the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 1-1/2 lengths.
He then went gate-to-wire with 2-1 bet Par Play in race seven over six furlongs before also producing a 1-1/4 length score with West Princess in race eight over seven furlongs.
Chow, meanwhile, won the main feature, the $30 000 Winnipeg Futurity, when he piloted 4-1 choice Eye Catching to a 2-1/4 length win over the two-year-olds going six furlongs.
Meanwhile, Jamaican riding star Shamaree Muir lit up Century Downs in Calgary yesterday, winning half of the races on the eight-race card at the southern Alberta racing venue.
The 23-year-old won race one over seven furlongs with 2-1 bet Dangerous Pursuit, captured race two with favourite Sharp Dressed Beau in a 3-1/2 furlong sprint before guiding another favourite Miss Hesi to victory in race three, in another short sprint.
Muir’s final win came over six furlongs in race eight with 6-1 choice High Impact.
He tops the standings with seven wins in the short season which got underway September 2 and wraps up on October 28, with Venezuelan Rigo Sarmiento two behind in second.
Barbadian Rico Walcott, the reigning champion at Century Downs, lies joint third with three wins.
Fresh from a fourth-place finish in the Northlands Park season in Edmonton, Muir kept up his good form when he made virtually all the running with six-year-old bay mare Dangerous Pursuit to dismiss the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by fou
The pair duelled through the first quarter with 2-1 bet True Attraction before disposing of the rival and storming through the stretch.
Muir’s next win came in gate-to-wire fashion when he piloted chestnut gelding Sharp Dressed Beau to a dominant 7-3/4 length victory over the two-year-old maidens.
He notched a third straight win with the roan filly Miss Hesi, chasing down pace-setter Mini Wheat to collar the two-year-old maiden fillies by half-length at the wire.
Muir fittingly brought the curtain down on the day by steering five-year-old bay gelding High Impact to a 2-1/4 length victory over the three-year-old and upward maidens.
Redneck Remark showed early before Smartasatak took charge but High Impact headed the leader in the upper stretch and pulled clear.