EDMONTON, Alberta – Barbadian Damario Bynoe tasted success for the first time this season at Century Mile when he posted a double on Sunday’s nine-race card.
The 29-year-old, among the colony in 2019 but who missed out last season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada, had gone 23 races this season without a single win. He broke the lean spell in race three, however, steering 2-1 bet Tomahawk Explorer to a one-length win over the three-year-olds and upward before following up in race four with 9-1 bet Astartobe, beating the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 3-¾ lengths.
Reigning champion Rico Walcott could only manage a single win in seven rides, combining with favourite Bab’s Delight to edge the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by three-quarters of a length in race seven over six furlongs.
He has ten wins for the season and lies second in the standings, three adrift of leader Jamaican Andre Martin who went winless from seven rides.
Bynoe opened his account in a five-furlong sprint when he made all the running with Tomahawk Explorer to get the four-year-old chestnut gelding to the wire first.
Tomahawk Explorer was chased by Kicken West and Awesome Knight but held well in the stretch despite never taking a commanding lead.
Bynoe’s second success came over six furlongs, this time producing a stalking ride to carry the seven-year-old bay mare Astartobe to a convincing victory.
Wheelsupinthirty and Sky Vue duelled through the early fractions before Bynoe surged to the front near the three-sixteenth marker and took command.
The Century Mile season got underway May 16 and wraps October 30.
Meanwhile on Friday also at the Century Mile track, Jamaican Andre Martin out-slugged Walcott in a thrilling duel on the 11-race card, winning four races to come away with top honours.
Neither jockey featured in the first two races but then combined to win seven of the remaining nine – all run over six furlongs – with Barbadian Walcott ending with a hat-trick for his hard work.
Martin, who last rode here in the 2019 opening season, has stretched his lead at the top of the standings to 13 wins from 44 rides, four clear of Walcott and Rafael Zenteno Jr.
Exciting Barbadian rider Antonio Whitehall is two back on seven wins.
It was Walcott who landed the first blow, however, winning the CAN$19 000 race three over with favourite Interesting Times, piloting the five-year-old bay mare to a 9-¾ length crushing of the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares.
Martin responded in the $17 000 race four, making virtually all the running with 3-1 chance Striders Ring, after out-running second placed Eddyshak ridden by Walcott, to reach the wire a length clear.
Even though he missed the break with 6-1 choice Crafty Engagement in the $12 000 race seven for the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares, Martin recovered to bring the five-year-old from off the pace, overhauled pace-setter Out Front in the stretch and won by 1-¾ lengths.
And with Martin out of action in the $12 000 race eight, Walcott used the opportunity to win his second, this time guiding 5-1 bet Dreadnaught to a narrow half-length victory, also over the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares.
Martin returned to win race nine worth $11 500, making all the running with 6-1 chance No Bakk Talk, dominating the three-year-old and upward maidens to win by 3-¾ lengths.
In the last two races, Walcott combined with favourite Pacioretty to capture the $8 000 race 10 before Martin won the day’s finale worth $7 500, pairing with 3-1 choice Caledon Summer to out-run Walcott’s Yukon Mist early on, before winning comfortably by three lengths.
On Saturday, Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr won the US$75 000 Ginger Punch Stakes with favourite Shifty She at Gulfstream Park in Florida but ran second in the $160 000 Salvator Mile Stakes at Monmouth Park with hot favourite Ny Traffic, as he endured mix fortunes on the Eastern Seaboard.
Going a mile and sixteenth in the feature on the 12-race card at Gulfstream, Shifty She under jockey Edwin Gonzales, made all the running to turn back the three-year-old and upward Florida-bred fillies and mares by half-length in a time of one minute, 40:13 seconds.
There was disappointment for Joseph further north in Oceanport, New Jersey, however, when 4-5 odds-on bet Ny Traffic failed to hold inside the final furlong for jockey Paco Lopez as the longest shot in the mile contest, 79-1 chance Informative, left it late for a one length victory over the three-year-olds and upward in a time of 1:37.01.
NY Traffic, who finished eighth in last year’s Kentucky Derby, duelled with 16-1 chance Green Light Go through the quarter in 23.98 seconds and the half in 47.27, before surging to the front on the final turn and taking a length lead into the stretch.
But Informative produced a late charge to overtake NY Traffic at the sixteenth pole and hit the wire first.
Thankfully, Shifty She did not disappoint, handing Joseph the second of two wins on the card in southeastern Florida.
The five-year-old bay mare out-sprinted Bienville Street and Summering to produce the early splits of 23.77 for the quarter and 47.15 for the half, but remained under pressure from Bienville Street.
However, Shifty She got clear off the turn to lead by a length in the stretch but was then forced to turn back a sturdy challenge from 8-1 choice Sun Summers before getting home safely.
“She loves to win. She definitely has the will to win. You can see that. If you look at her record, even before we got her. You can’t teach that,” Joseph said afterwards.
“She always finds a bit more. She knows where the wire is. Even in the race [on April 9] off the layoff when she got beat, she dueled the whole way and still hung in there.”
Joseph had earlier won the $52 000 race eight two races earlier, sending out 4-1 chance Calibrator to collar the three-year-olds and upward by two lengths going a mile. (CMC)