TORONTO, Canada – Seven-time Woodbine champion Patrick Husbands won twice at the prestigious western Canada racetrack yesterday, to maintain his strong start to the new season. It was a good weekend for Husbands as he was also in winners’ row on Saturday.
Riding on the 10-race programme yesteday, the Barbadian jockey notched wins in the CAN$60 300 race three with favorite Truebelieve and in the $101 200 race nine with another favourite Western Taffy.
Husbands lies fifth on 10 wins, eight adrift of early season leader Rafael Hernandez, with Emma-Jayne Wilson in second on 16 wins.
Husbands’ opening win came in a six furlong dash when he overcame a strong challenge from the seven-horse field to guide three-year-old colt Truebelieve a half-length win over the three-year-olds and upward.
Street Silence knocked off the early fractions as Trappeze Artist chased from second a length back, with the pack bunched close behind.
Coming off the turn, Street Silence still held a narrow lead with Trappeze Artist in pursuit but Husbands rallied Truebelieve along the rails before splitting the leaders to get up the late.
The second win for Husbands came in a stalking ride when he combined with Mark Casse’s three-year-old chestnut filly Western Taffy to get the better of the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares in a five furlong sprint.
Systemic Risk, ridden by Jamaican Kirk Johnson, produced the early splits before Husbands brought Western Taffy with a strong charge from second, holding off a flying run from Betwixting, to reach the wire by a length.
Veteran 57-year-old Trinidadian Emile Ramsammy also tasted success on the day’s card, pairing with 24-1 long shot Gospel Way to win race five over five furlongs by 1-¼ lengths.
On Saturday, Husbands and fellow Barbadian Keveh Nicholls conjured up contrasting wins to make their mark on the 10-race card at the Woodbine track.
Husbands scored in the CAN$126 800 race five with favourite Sweet Souper Sweet courtesy of a front-running effort while Nicholls, a Woodbine rookie, raised the curtain on the card when he brought 6-1 chance Saltini with a late run to win handsomely.
The victory was the first in 17 outings for Nicholls in the new season which got underway on May 6 following a month’s delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
For Husbands, meanwhile, the success was his eighth of the season in 49 rides.
Nicholls’s success came over six furlongs in a $60 300 optional claiming when he combined with seven-year-old brown gelding Saltini to beat the three-year-olds and upward by 1-½ lengths.
He raced Saltini at the rear of the six-horse field as The Kippy Train and Alicia’s Kid duelled for the lead and Silence Breakers and Souper Hot battled for third two lengths back.
Nicholls brought Saltini strongly off the final turn, wore down the leaders before taking over in the dying stages.
In a five furlong dash in race five, Husbands and chestnut filly Sweet Souper Sweet endured little difficulty in putting away the two-year-old maiden fillies by three lengths.
Sweet Souper Sweet carved out a split of 22.43 for the quarter and despite failing to shake stalker Federal Court early on, still took the final stretch with a handy lead.
Federal Court faded while More Savvy chased but Husbands and Sweet Souper Sweet were never in danger.
The Woodbine season ends December 13.
And other Barbadians made their mark in Canada on the weekend. Antonio Whitehall transferred his dominance 700 miles west of his usual stomping grounds at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, when he rode a brace on Friday’s seven-race card at Century Mile.
The 27-year-old stormed to victory in race one aboard 8-1 choice Triple Power before returning to win the day’s final race board 3-1 bet Moon King.
Whitehall is already the leading rider at Assiniboia Downs with 22 wins from 87 rides in the season which got underway May 25.
Whitehall has ridden 13 times since the new season at Century began June 21 but Friday’s double marked his first success.
His first trip to the winners’ enclosure came via a front-running effort when he combined with three-year-old chestnut gelding Triple Power to crush the three-year-olds and upward by five furlongs in a 5-½ furlong dash.
Whitehall broke Triple Power sharply to set the pace through the first quarter in 22.12 seconds and the half in 45.13, before accelerating through the lane to also dominate late on.
Despite the early success, Whitehall came up empty handed in his next four rides before finally scoring when he carried seven-year-old bay gelding Moon King to a two-length win over the three-year-olds and upward.
Going another 5-½ furlongs, Whitehall raced Moon King off the pace set by the duelling West of Sabinal and Burnin’ Pockets before catching the leaders in the stretch and producing a driving finish.
Antiguan Kwame Joseph also tasted success on the day’s card, piloting favourite Little Brian to victory in race five going 5-½ furlongs. (CMC)