Rico Walcott wins big in Canada
VANCOUVER – Barbadian Rico Walcott enjoyed a big pay-out on Monday at Hastings racecourse, when he won three stakes races worth a combined CAN$250 000, on the eight-race Thanksgiving Day card.
Walcott, the dominant rider at Northlands Park in Edmonton, took his show to Canada’s west coast, landing the $100 000 Grade III BC Premier’s Handicap with favourite Alert Bay, the $75 000 Fantasy Stakes with 4-1 bet Ambleside Park before capturing the $75 000 Ascot Graduation Stakes with 2-1 chance Blue Dancer.
The three-time Northlands champion narrowly missed out in the Grade III Ballerina Stakes when he finished second aboard 3-1 chance Madeira Park.
Walcott started his winning streak in the Fantasy in race six, when he carried Ambleside Park to a dominant seven and a quarter length victory over the two-year-old fillies.
Going a mile and sixteenth, Walcott stalked with Ambleside Park as 21-1 outsider Seedle Surprise, ridden by Trinidadian Keishan Balgobin, posted fractions of 24.06 seconds for the quarter and 48.80 for
the half, with Quatre Cat in second.
Walcott moved the chestnut filly up to second at the half-mile and pressed Seedle Surprise for the lead in the run to the final turn. However, Seedle Surprise broke down shortly afterward and Walcott swung Ambleside Park for home with a clear lead and then widened his advantage in the stretch.
He followed up in the BC Premier in race seven, narrowly getting the better of the three-year-olds and upward by a neck going a mile and three-eighths.
Walcott and Alert Bay disputed the lead through the first half with 4-1 chance Prohibition, before dropping off as Mysterious Soul moved up to challenge Prohibition.
On the final turn, Walcott roused the three-year-old gelding and he engaged Mysterious Soul in a stretch duel before getting home by a neck.
Walcott wrapped up the day’s action at Hastings when he won a shoot-out over a mile and sixteenth with Blue Dancer, beating the two-year-olds by a nose.
He raced the two-year-old colt from along the rails, clashing first with 29-1 bet Captain Haynes, then 4-1 chance Oh Derek before out-lasting favourite Lord Rosberg in the stretch.