FORMER four-time Jamaican champion jockey Dane Nelson maintained his strong form on the international circuit by riding four winners over the weekend to remain top in the title race at Century Downs in Calgary, Canada.
Nelson, who was recently crowned champion jockey at Century Mile in Edmonton, won one race on Sunday's eight-race card after winning three on Saturday's nine-race programme.
Nelson, 39, captured race two aboard Sharp Dressed Beau for trainer James Brown on Sunday, while his winners on Saturday were Father O'Flaherty in the first race for trainer Brown, Bare Back Jack in the third race for trainer Gonzalo Anderson, and Kauai Dan in the seventh race for trainer Craig Smith.
Nelson leads the title race with 13 wins — five winners ahead of Antonio Whitehall who has eight winners. N'Rico Perscod (seven winners), and Jose Asencio (six winners) completed the top four for the campaign which got underway September 9 and ends October 29.
Sharp Dressed Beau's victory came in the CAN$5,000 Claiming event for three-year-olds and upward over seven and one-half furlongs. Nelson broke Sharp Dressed Beau vying for the early lead on the outside of Perdition (Enrique Gonzalez) before taking over control down the backstretch, and went on to win the race by 2½ lengths. Sharp Dressed Beau won ahead of Give Em Heck Beck (Keishan Balgoblin) and Perdition in a time of 1:32.13.
Nelson notched his first win on Saturday with five-year-old roan gelding Father O'Flaherty, in an Allowance Optional Race over seven and one-half furlongs. Nelson rated Father O'Flaherty well off the pace and came with a strong run in the final stages of the race to win by a head, beating Theshack (Desmond Bryan) and Bodemonster (Antonio Whitehall) in 1:29.66.
Nelson's second win came when he combined with six-year-old bay gelding Bare Back Jack in the CAN$12,000 Claiming race for three-year-olds and upward over seven furlongs. Bare Back Jack stalked the early pacesetters before producing a run on three wide coming off the final bend to win by a neck, nipping Estifraad (Keihton Natera) on the line. The final time was 1:23.55.
The cap came aboard three-year-old bay gelding Kauai Dan, who won the Allowance Optional Race by three lengths over seven furlongs. Kauai Dan defeated Handsome Henry (Da-Sean Gastin) and Cali Conquest (Mauricio Malaez) in a time of 1:22.75.
Christopher Mamdeen also had a successful day in the saddle at Hastings Racecourse & Casino over the weekend, winning three races on Saturday's seven-race card. Ave's In Command won the first race, Peterson Landing won the second race, and Neighneigh won the seventh race with Mamdeen. Robert Maybin trains all three champions.
In a claiming race over six and one-half furlongs Ave's In Command finished a half-length clear of Wise Market (Kimal Santo) and Calamazeus (Fraser Aebly). The race finished in 1:16.50 minutes. Peterson Landing comfortably won the maiden claiming event over six and a half furlongs by 4 1/2 lengths. In a time of 1:17.85 Peterson Landing beat Anzac Bay (Kerron Khelawan) and Ellaneister (Amadeo Peraz).
Neighneigh got home by a head in the Allowance Optional Claiming event, beating Addendum (Kerron Khelawan) and Belcerra Park (Kimal Santos) over six and a half furlongs. The race finished in 1:17.23.