Walcott is Northlands’ champion jockey
EDMONTON, Alberta – Barbadian Rico Walcott was on Monday crowned Northlands Park jockeys champion for a third straight year, as the six-month season at the Western Canada racetrack came to a quiet end.
The 24-year-old finished with an amazing 148 wins from 464 mounts – nearly twice the number of second-place finisher Amie Pooli, who claimed 75 victories.
More incredibly, Walcott finished with a 32 per cent win rate, the best by any jockey in North America with a minimum of 300 starts. He finished second 92 times and third 74 times, to end with winnings of CAN$1.8 million (BDS$3.4 million) for the season.
His earnings were also fuelled by 12 added money wins, which included the two biggest of his career – the CAN$200 000 (BDS$ 390, 500) Grade III Canadian Derby at Northlands Park, back in August and the US$400 000 Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park last month.
The most recent of these big money victories came on Monday at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, when Walcott carried favourite Madeira Park to victory in the CAN$100 000 (BDS$$195 000) Grade 3 Ballerina Stakes.
His performance aboard the David Forster-trained four-year-old bay filly summed up his stellar season. He tracked the leaders Saturday Nite Ride and Lady Henrietta throughout the trip over a mile and an eighth, before sprinting through a small opening at the top of the final turn to grab the lead, and reach the wire three-quarter lengths clear.
“I had an outside draw and I wanted to get her into a comfortable position early,” Walcott said.
“She was on the heels of Saturday Nite Ride most of the race, and when she finally got clear, I really got after her in the stretch.”
He also narrowly missed out in the CAN$100 000 (BDS$195 000) BC Premier’s Handicap when he finished second to Joey’s Jewel, with odds-on bet Title Contender.
Walcott has now followed in the footsteps of his older brother Rickey Walcott, who won a hat-trick of Northland Park titles between 2005 and 2007, and also captured a fourth crown in 2009. He now rides in Barbados.
Several other Barbadians featured in the Northland Park campaign. Kyle Carter finished eighth with 27 wins from 241 mounts, Quincy Welch took 13 wins from 85 outings to be 12th while Desmond Bryan won eight times in 218 starts.
Chris Husbands, a member of the jockeys’ colony at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, finished with five wins from 72 mounts. (KP)