Double stakes glory for Jamaican Nelson
WINNIPEG, Canada (CMC):
Jamaican jockey Dale Nelson made two bold statements at Northlands Park Saturday when he snatched the CAN$50,000 Sonoma Stakes and $53,330 Sun Sprint Championship Stakes on the 13-race Derby Day card.
Nelson scored by 5-1/4 lengths in the Sonoma in race three with the three-year-old bay filly Hero's Amor, before returning in race 10 to win the Sun Sprint by half-length with 17-1 outsider Clear the Runway.
In the feature $200,000 Canadian Derby in race 12, Nelson finished second aboard 9-1 chance Witt Six, as 3-1 chance Academic reached the wire first by eight lengths. The favourite, Blue Dancer, with Barbadian Rico Walcott aboard, was a disappointing fifth.
Going a mile and 16th in the Sonoma, Nelson tracked from second with Hero's Amor, as Eustacia set the pace with quick fractions of 22.62 for the quarter and 46.22 for the half. Nelson brought Hero's Amor to challenge on the final turn, picked up the lead in the lane before getting the filly to the finish 5-1/4 lengths clear, to dismiss the three-year-old fillies.
In a 6-1/2 furlong sprint in the Sun Sprint, Nelson brought Clear the Runway from last to beat the three-year-olds and upward by half length. Red Red Rose set the pace through the first quarter with 22.21, before Brackendale came to challenge and battled into the stretch.
Almost last heading into the lane, Nelson brought the six-year-old bay gelding with a strong run along the rails to clinch a narrow victory ahead of Tiny Giant.