WINNIPEG, Canada – Champion-in-waiting Antonio Whitehall pegged just one winner on Monday night’s eight-race card at Assiniboia Downs but it was enough to see him become the first jockey to crack 100 victories across Canada this summer.
The 26-year-old paired with favourite Stevie Mac to win a 5-½ furlong sprint in race four, lifting his tally for the season to 74 and will be crowned champion here for the second time in three years.
He has already won 26 times at Century Mile in Edmonton, taking him to triple figures for the season.
Trinidadian Stanley Chadee Jr lies second at Assiniboia with 46 and is trying to stave off a strong challenge from Rafael Zenteno who is one back in third.
The nature of Whitehall’s achievement this season has been underscored by the fact he has split his attention between Assiniboia Downs and Century Mile, 700 miles away in Edmonton, where he is the third leading rider behind fellow Barbadian Rico Walcott.
In fact, Whitehall won race six with Chaska at Century on Sunday night before hopping on a flight to Winnipeg Monday morning and scoring with the seven-year-old mare Stevie Mac, beating the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 2-¼ lengths.
Whitehall also has 52 second place finishes and 52 third from 293 rides at Assiniboia Downs this campaign.
His achievement of 100 wins overshadowed Trinidadian Richard Mangalee’s capture of Monday’s feature, the CAN$30 000 Winnipeg Futurity Stakes in race two, aboard 10-3 chance Bells and Whistles as part of a triple.
Mangalee duelled for most of the six-furlong sprint with 13-2 bet Rightofvengence before holding off fast-finishing favourite Call the Cops, with Whitehall aboard, to reach the wire 1-¼ lengths clear in a time of one minute, 13 seconds.
The 33-year-old had earlier won race one over five furlongs, making virtually all the running with 3-1 bet Witt’s Tenny Ten to beat the two-year-old maidens.
And Mangalee won his third in race eight over six furlongs when he brought favourite Where’s the Reward from a stalking position to beat the three-year-old and upward maidens by half-length. (CMC)