IN typical Dane Nelson fashion, the four-time Jamaican champion jockey brought the crowd to its feet when he easily brushed aside rivals aboard Dance Shoes in the 22nd running of the CAN$50,000 Red Trail Landing Handicap feature race at Century Mile in Edmonton, Canada, last Friday.
The ever-confident Nelson allowed Dance Shoes to settle in fourth place in the Black Type race for three-year-old and upward fillies and mares over six furlongs, as Pearl of Knowledge ridden by Enrique Gonzalez) set the early pace.
Dance Shoes found running room against the inside rails at the three-eighths pole and swept the lead at the top of the stretch. With strong urgings and numerous diamond change of holds from Nelson that brought excitement from the crowd, Dance Shoes opened up in deep stretch and won by 5 ½ lengths in the end.
Joy in Grace (Jose Asencio) finished second and Pearl of Knowledge was third in a final time of 1:08.86 minutes.
“The feeling is really great when you win a Stakes race here. This gives you more confidence and the urge to continue giving your best. It also helps to get more rides as the trainers will see that you are capable of getting the job done, and I am really happy for this win. The horse just responded well and got home,” Nelson told the Jamaica Observer.
Nelson won a second race on Saturday when he brought home the Dale Saunders-trained Lanny Mac to a 7 ¼-length win in a three-year-old and upward claiming race over one mile.
Lanny Mac contended the early pace under a snug hold before gaining the advantage in the far turn, and just sprinted clear at the top of the lane to win ahead of Backstreet Bobby under another Jamaican in Shamaree Muir. The final time for the race was 1:39.76.
With those winners Nelson remained in second place in the jockey’s standing with 17 winners, Enrique Gonzalez leads the race with 20, while Muir is in 15th place on one winner. The race season, which started on April 30, will end on November 5.
“I am not thinking about the championship, I am just building my brand. My plan is just to ride as many winners as possible and see where that takes me. I want everybody everywhere to know about Dane Nelson and what I can do.
“The experience riding overseas is just priceless. I mean, you get to meet new people plus you learn different riding styles as well. I am having a good time here,” he said.
Over at Lethbridge racetrack in Alberta, Jamaican Trevor Simpson also had a good showing when he booted two winners on Sunday.
Simpson won aboard Empirical Data for trainer Lyle Magnuson going six furlongs in the three-year-old and upward Starter Allowance race. Empirical Data won by 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Bullet Express, ridden by Jamaican Larris Allen in 1:08.40.
His second winner came aboard the Elly Rutherford-trained He’s Italian going six furlongs. He’s Italian won by 1 ¼ lengths in a time of 1:10.60.