TORONTO, Canada – Veteran Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands rode his third stakes winner of the new Woodbine campaign when he brought favourite March to the Arch from off the pace, to destroy the field in the CAN$100 000 Niagara Stakes on Sunday.
Going off at odds of 6-5 in the feature for the four-year-olds and upward over a mile and eighth, Husbands rallied the six-year-old bay gelding in the stretch to hit the front passing the furlong marker, and storm to the finish 4-½ lengths clear in a time of one minute, 45.15 seconds.
Two-to-one choice Belichick, ridden by Luis Contreras, bumped with March to the Arch mid-stretch and finished second while 14-1 bet Theregoesjojo was half-length back in third.
“This horse is the barn pet, everyone loves him. He’s just a racehorse that everybody wants to be around,” Husbands said afterwards.
“From reading the form [book], I could see there would be no pace and he’s a closer, and when I got to the first turn [and saw what was happening], I had to press that horse the whole way.
“He still hung in there and he showed you it wasn’t his style but he still came back today and showed you he is a good horse.”
Seven-to-two chance Admiralty Pier and 46-1 longshot Primo Touch, with Guyana-born rider Sunny Singh aboard, stormed through the early stages to open up a whopping 10-length lead on the field by the half-mile run in 45.32 seconds.
Belichick tracked from third with Theregoesjojo for company, while Husbands was relaxed with March to the Arch two lengths back in fifth.
At the top of the lane, Admiralty Pier and Primo Touch still led but Husbands wheeled March to the Arch off the inside path, aggressively slicing between Belichick and Theregoesjojo, before picking off fading leader Primo Touch to win handsomely.
“He’s classy. Everybody would love to ride a horse like him,” said a beaming Husbands, who was winning for champion trainer Mark Casse.
“Good horses will make you look good but he comes out the gates and whatever you want him to do he will do, and he has a serious turn-of-foot.”
The victory for Husbands was the first of two as he brought the curtain down on the 11-race card by partnering with 17-1 outsider Fourteen Days to beat the three-year-old and upward maiden fillies and mares by 1-½ lengths in a front-running effort for Barbadian trainer Randy Thompson.
Going seven furlongs, Husbands produced splits of 23 seconds and 45.97 to stave off pressure from English Shirl, Jokers Run, Ballrooms of Mars and Carpe Horseshoe all bunched together.
In the stretch, Husbands widened his lead with the three-year-old chestnut filly to win comfortably as Carpe Horseshoe, Ballroom of Mars and English Shirl chased desperately with little to separate them.
Husbands lies third in the standings on 23 wins, five adrift of Kazushi Kimura and Emma-Jayne Wilson, both on 28 wins. (CMC)