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Wins put Husbands back in the race


CMC

Wins put Husbands back in the race

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TORONTO – Patrick Husbands won his 26th stakes race and reeled off a triple, as he stormed back into contention in the jockeys’ championship at Woodbine racetrack last weekend.

The 41-year-old Barbadian rider captured the CAN$232 400 Grade II Bessarabian Stakes with favourite Hillaby, the highlight of a successful outing that saw him cut championship leader Luis Contreras’ lead at the top.

He had lost ground after a few lean outings last week but his latest success means he sits in second on 154 wins, just one behind three-time defending champions Contreras, with 2010 champion Eurico Rosa da Silva of Brazil, lying third on 131 wins.

However, the capture of the Bessarabian proved one of the major highlights of the day as it meant Husbands swept the weekend’s features after capturing the South Ocean Stakes on Saturday.

Breaking Hillaby nicely, Husbands pressed the pace with the four-year-old bay filly as Cryptic Message hauled the field through fractions of 22.76 seconds for the quarter and 45.19 for the half-mile.

Husbands brought Hillaby to challenge at the top of the lane and the filly responded, sweeping to the front and cruising to the wire in a time of one minute, 21.44 seconds, to win by 2-3/4 lengths.

“She left running, but I knew I couldn’t go with Eurico [aboard Cryptic Message], so I tried to ease her back and get to the outside,” said Husbands.

“Jesse [Campbell, aboard Native Bombshell] did what he had to do to keep me in . . . but when Jesse went ahead, I put her back on her right lead and she just took me around there.”

Hillaby was bred by Barbados-based Canadian businessman Eugene Melnyk and named after a community in the eastern parish of St Andrew.

The filly is out of Canada’s 2007 Horse Of The Year Sealy Hill, a Triple Tiara winner under Husbands.

Earlier, Husbands had opened his account in race three when he carried 4-1 bet The Columbian Girl to victory over the three-year-olds and upward fillies and mares.

Going six furlongs, Husbands stalked the leaders into the stretch before vying with the three-year-old chestnut filly and getting up late to win by three-quarter length.

He followed up in race seven over 6-1/2 furlongs with favourite Bear’s Big Boy, bringing the four-year-old bay gelding from off the pace to beat the three-year-olds and upward also by three-quarter length.

The Woodbine season ends December 7. (CMC)

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