Husbands wins eighth Sovereign Award
TORONTO, Canada (CMC):
Outstanding Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands won his eighth Sovereign Award when he was voted as Canada's Most Outstanding Jockey on Friday night.
The 41-year-old collected 145 votes to be the overwhelming winner at the awards ceremony, easily beating out challenges from fellow Woodbine-based riders Luis Contreras and Eurico Rosa da Silva, and the Northlands Park champions, fellow Barbadian Rico Walcott.
Contreras picked up 48 votes, da Silva, 42, and Walcott, 24.
Husbands' success was reward for capturing his seventh Woodbine title, and first in five years, in a stellar 2014 season that saw him record 170 victories to top the colony.
The Toronto resident also claimed 123 seconds and 107 third-place finishes, along with nearly CAN$10 million in earnings.
For Husbands, Friday's success was his similar triumphs in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
One of Husbands' leading clients, trainer Mark Casse, meanwhile, marched off with his sixth Sovereign Award for Best Trainer for his 93 wins from 476 starts.
The highlight of Casse's season was when Husbands carried Lexie Lou to victory in the prestigious million-dollar Queen's Plate. For Casse, it was his first-ever Queen's Plate.
For that success and her win in the Woodbine Oaks, Lexie Lou was voted Canada's Horse of the Year and also captured the honour of top three-year-old filly and top turf female horse.
There was disappointment, however, for Barbadian jockey Damario Bynoe, who missed out on Canada's Top Apprentice of the Year Award, losing out to the Woodbine-based rider Sheena Ryan.
Bynoe was impressive in his first season outside of Barbados, landing 45 wins to finish fourth in the colony at Northlands Park.
The Woodbine season kicked off late yesterday with Husbands down for four rides on the 10-race programme.
This year's meet will feature 133 race days.
Husbands rode in the Caribbean last Easter weekend at the Caymanas Park racetrack in Jamaica. He rode Come Dance With Me in the 1000 Guineas on Saturday, April 4, and Siempre Bueno in the 2000 Guineas on Easter Monday.
Come Dance With Me was unplaced, while Siempre Bueno was fourth.