FORT ERIE, Canada – Jamaica-born Kirk Johnson grabbed the headlines with a pair of wins to lead Caribbean jockeys plying their trade at the Fort Erie racetrack on yesterday’s race card.
Riding on the nine-race card, the long-standing reinsman captured the first two races on the card before Christopher Husbands and fellow Barbadian Keveh Nicholls made their mark later in the day.
Johnson, a former champion jockey at the track, opened his account with a one-length victory aboard the 11-4 bet Speedy Connor in the CAN $16,400 first race over 1,000 metres on the dirt track.
He got Speedy Connor away quickly from the gates, pushing the three-year-old, bay gelding to a slim lead on the turn and from the three-path through the stretch proved his mount was the best of five horses, finishing with a time of 57.95 seconds, just under two seconds outside the track record.
Johnson followed up with a half-length win astride the 3-1 chance Holdonweregoinghome in the CAN $9,000 second race going 1,300m on the dirt.
He set a pressured pace with Holdonweregoinghome, duelling from the inside on the turn before putting the five-year-old, grey mare into the three-path at the top of the stretch to fight gamely for the win in one minute, 20.69 seconds.
Johnson now has 26 wins and is fourth in the jockeys’ table – led by Krista Carignan on 47 – for the summer season of racing which comes to a close in two weeks’ time.
Husbands, the nephew of ace Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands, captured his 13th win of the season, when he steered hot favourite Phil In The Blank to 2 ¼ lengths victory in the CAN $9,000 fourth race over 1,000m on the dirt.
Husbands put Phil in the Blank in a position to stalk the leaders before the seven-year-old, dark bay gelding became a factor on the turn and from the four-path through the stretch, drew clear to clock 59.46 secs.
Nicholls landed his fifth win of the season with a comfortable 5 ¼-length victory on the 6-1 chance Spanish Blessing in the CAN $9,000 sixth race, going 1,100m.
Spanish Blessing showed early speed from the inside and Nicholls put him into the lead on the turn and was unstoppable in the stretch to end with a time of 1 min, 06.26 secs. (CMC)
Fort Erie Jockeys’ Standings
(@ October 1, 2019)
1 Krista Carignan 47 wins
2 Melanie Pinto 34
3 Helen Marie Vanek 31
4 Kirk Johnson (JAM) 26
5 Pierre Mailhot 19
6 Sunny Singh (GUY) 17
7 Christopher Husbands (BAR) 13
8= Juan Crawford (BAR) 10
8= Emile Ramsammy (T&T) 10
8= Daisuke Fukumoto 10