Dane Nelson's international career is still thriving as the former four-time Jamaican champion rider booted home five winners to dominate the two-day racing meet at Century Downs in Calgary, Canada, last weekend.
Nelson won four of the 10 races on Saturday (September 16, 2023) including two of the seven stakes races that were available, and only could have managed one race the following day.
Fresh off his title victory at Century Mile in Edmonton earlier this month, Nelson won the CAN$50,000 Alberta Fall Classic Distaff with favourite Dance Shoes and the $50,000 Alberta Premier's Futurity with another favourite, Itsallgoodman.
Nelson also won the second race over a distance of six furlongs with the favourite Missczech before winning the seventh race over a distance of one mile and sixteenth with the long shot Rocktillyoudrop. Both Missczech and Rocktillyoudrop won their races in Track Record times.
Nelson, who was exceptional in the saddle, held the James brown-trained Dance Shoes off the early pace under a snug wrap before asking the five-year-old chestnut mare to run between horses down the backstretch. Dance Shoes took control of the race willingly on the far turn before drawing away to win the Stakes event for three-year-olds and upward Alberta-bred fillies and mares by three lengths in 1:44.36.
Nelson quickly followed up with an 8 ¼-length win aboard the Gonzalo Anderson-trained Itsallgoodman in the Stakes event for two-year-old Alberta breds. Itsallgoodman took up a striking position outside of the runners and continued along the backstretch. Itsallgoodman closed in on the horses as they neared the top of the lane and then easily won in 1:17.07.
Prior to this, Nelson led the four-year-old Missczech, who was trained by Anderson to a 5 ¼-length victory in the Allowance Optional Claiming contest for fillies and mares aged three and up. Missczech triumph in a time that set a new Track Record, 1:09.06.
Nelson finished off his winning streak when he and trainer Rodney Cone teamed up with Rocktillyoudrop to win the Allowance Optional Claiming race for three-year-olds and above by a neck. In a winning time of 1:42.65, the five-year-old bay gelding Rocktillyoudrop tied Mr Kalyson's record established on October 28, 2017.
"I am appreciative and pleased that I was able to deliver the goods. I must thank God for health and strength to be successful in the saddle. I must also thank the owners, trainers, grooms, and all the connections for the support they have been giving me," the 39-year-old Nelson told the Jamaica Observer's The Supreme Racing Guide.
"I also want to thank the spectators and my fellow riders for their encouragement and support. The task of riding four winners in one day requires a lot of effort and commitment.
"I'll keep working hard and giving it my all to succeed more. Only hard work will bring success, and I'm devoted to going above and above," Nelson continued.
Nelson's lone winner on Sunday came aboard Douseawhatisen in an Allowance Optional Claiming race over six-and-a-half furlongs for trainer Madison Zielke. Douseawhatisen won by 6 ½ lengths in a time of 1:09.40.
With those five winners, Nelson took his tally at Century Downs to seven winners as he leads the jockeys' title race ahead of N'Rico Prescod (four winners), Francisco Guerrero (four winners), and Jose Asencio (three winners). On September 9 the competition began, and it will last through October 29.
In addition to his seven victories at Century Downs, Nelson also won 40 races at Century Mile, two at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club's Lethbridge, and one at the Assiniboia Down racetrack in Winnipeg to take his tally for the season on the international riding circuit to 50.
Nelson has so far ridden 381 winners, 351 seconds, and 314 thirds from 2,005 mounts with lifetime earnings of CAN$4,324,938 in North America. He has ridden 1,217 winners in Jamaica and another five winners at the Santa Rosa racetrack in Trinidad and Tobago. Since beginning his career in 2002, Nelson has ridden a combined 1,603 winners lifetime.
Meanwhile, former Jamaican champion jockey Christopher Mamdeen couldn't have asked for a better start to his international career. Mamdeen, making his international debut this year at the Hastings racetrack in Vancouver, Canada, has so far ridden four winners, two seconds, and four thirds from 30 rides, with lifetime earnings of CAN$39,007.