WINNIPEG, Canada – Jamaican Neville Stephenson rode a double but Barbadian Antonio Whitehall stole the headlines with his capture of the CAN$35 000 Manitoba Oaks with 2-5 choice Xtrema at Assiniboia Downs on Monday.
The veteran Stephenson, 53, captured race one with 5-1 chance Gavin before following up with success in race seven with favourite Gs Poppy’s Warrior.
However, the 27-year-old Whitehall made the most of his three rides on the seven-race card, partnering with chestnut filly Xtrema in race three to beat the three-year-old fillies by 1-½ lengths in a time of one minute, 41 seconds.
Favourite Aberta Sun suffered an upset and finished second, nearly seven lengths clear of third placed Orange Theory, the longest shot in the race at 33-1.
Alberta Sun, with leading rider Jorge Carreno aboard, made the early running in the event over a mile, producing 25.40 seconds for the quarter and 51.60 for the half.
Orange Theory chased along with Xtrema, with Plum Blue and My Princess Ellie never really factoring.
Whitehall bided his time well before making his bid in the stretch, getting to the lead approaching the sixteenth pole and then storming to the wire.
Stephenson, meanwhile, raised the curtain on the day’s programme when he carried seven-year-old gelding Gavin to a three-length win over the three-year-olds and upwards, going 7-½ furlongs.
And his second win came in the day’s final race over six furlongs, producing a gate-to-wire effort aboard four-year-old gelding Gs Poppy’s Warrior to trounce the three-year-old and upward maidens by 7-½ lengths.
Carreno leads the standings with 45 wins with Trinidadian Stanley Chadee Jr second on 31 and Jamaican Leroy Nelson back in third on 23.
Stephenson is tied in fourth with Sheldon Chickeness on 19 wins.