Nelson boots home three winners to extend lead at Century Mile
Dane Nelson’s international riding form continues as the former four-time Jamaican champion won a remarkable three-timer on Sunday’s seven-race card at Century Mile in Edmonton, Canada, to extend his lead in the jockeys’ standings.
Nelson, affectionately known as Warrior Chief, won race four atop Pump the Brakes, race six aboard Agent C for trainer Colleen O’Hagan, and race seven aboard Smilin Evie for trainer Rodney Cone.
With these three victories, Nelson, 38, increased his season total to 33, four wins ahead of Jose Asencio, who had 29. On 27 winners, Enrique Gonzalez and Alexander Marti are tied for third place. Fellow Jamaicans, Andre Martin is in 12th place with two triumphs, Linton Steadman is in 17th position with one win, and Ruja Lahoe is at the bottom of the standings in 27th place without a victory.
“It is always nice to win races,” Nelson told the Jamaica Observer’s The Supreme Racing Guide.
“I have been putting in the hard work as that’s the only way success will come. I must thank all the connections, fellow riders, trainers, grooms, fans, and everyone for their support. The plan is to continue to work hard with the hope of riding more winners,” Nelson added.
Nelson’s celebration began when he won the five-and-a-half-furlong event for three-year-olds and upward with a stalking ride atop four-year-old bay gelding Pump the Brakes.
Pump The Brakes chased the pace while running three wide, maintaining the pressure on leader Fast Eh (Alexander Marti) coming into the straight and crossed the finish line in time for the win. Julius the Great (Desmond Bryan) came in third with a timing of 1:05.56.
Nelson’s second success came over six-and-a-half furlongs when he led the three-year-old brown gelding Agent C to an eight-length triumph in the three-year-olds and upward race.
As Charming Vintage (Desmond Bryan) dominated the race through the early fractions, Angel C was held off the lead by Nelson. Nelson sent Agent C to challenge at the quarter pole and take up the lead, easily beating Savge’s Spirit (Francisco Gierrero) and Ameer (Linton Steadman). The overall time was 1:18.32.
The cap came in a six-furlong sprint when Nelson brought four-year-old chestnut filly Smilin Evie with a telling run to beat rivals by 3 Â¾ lengths in the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares event.
Smilin Evie battled Edge of Okotoks for the lead from the inside rails before breaking free on the far bend and pushing away to win handsomely. Take Charge (N’Rico Perscod) finished second, while Chatty Gal (Maurico Malvaez) finished third with a time of 1:11.86.
The international riding circuit has been successful for Robert “Hardball” Halledeen as well. Halledeen has so far ridden 13 winners this season with 11 of his victories have come at Thistledown Racetrack in Ohio, the United States. Halledeen currently sits in 15th position the jockey’s championship thanks to those victories.
His most recent success at the track was on Wednesday when he won the fifth race of the day alongside the Caryn Vecchio-trained Diva Power. In the Claiming race over five and a half furlongs, Diva Power finished first by seven and three-quarter lengths in 1:05.00.
Anthony “St Mary” Thomas, who rides at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, has failed to win a race after three mounts. His finest performance thus far was fourth when riding the Diley Dakin-trained Black Ice over six furlongs on Sunday, August 13.
On the racing programme for today, Thomas is the sole rider. In the sixth race, he’ll be aboard Tribute for jockey Henry Collazo.