EDMONTON – Barbadian jockey Rico Walcott rekindled memories of his dominant Northland Park days when he snatched five races, including the feature CAN$40 000 Red Tail Landing Handicap, on the nine-race card at Century Mile in Canada Friday.
The 29-year-old, injured last month in a racing incident here, snatched victories in race three with favourite Raiden, in race four with another favourite Sensame before also taking race five with punters choice Penny a Point.
Walcott then paired with favourite Sunburst to win the Red Tail in race eight before also capturing the day’s final event aboard 4-1 chance Bear Fabulous Son.
A multiple times champion at the now defunct Northlands also here in Edmonton, Walcott’s latest success propelled him to 14 wins from 42 rides for the new season, five clear of Rigo Sarmiento with Barbadian Antonio Whitehall third on eight wins from 46 outings.
In his first full season at Century Mile after a brain operation led to a truncated campaign last year, Walcott’s season began in less than stellar fashion when a starting gate incident on the opening day left him sidelined.
With Friday’s fireworks, however, Walcott showed little effects from that accident, installing himself as the favourite to win his maiden Century title.
He opened his account over a mile when he carried the five-year-old chestnut gelding Raiden to a handsome 2-1/2 length victory over the three-year-olds and upward.
Walcott pressed the pace from along the rails as Awesome Hit and Small Town Dude duelled for the lead through the first quarter run in 24.74 seconds.
Raiden burst to the front at the five-sixteenth pole with Barley Boy in pursuit but drew off handily in the lane to reach the wire comfortably.
Walcott doubled his tally in a six furlong sprint when he made all the running aboard the four-year-old dark bay filly Sesame, to crush the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by six lengths.
And this third straight win came in a 6-1/2 furlong event also for the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares when he brought the five-year-old chestnut mare Penny a Point with a flying late run to win by a length.
Fit For Royalty, with Whitehall in the saddle, posted the early splits before Walcott came from off the pace with Penny a Point to collar his rivals.
A gate-to-wire effort then handed Walcott his fourth taste of victory as he guided four-year-old chestnut filly Sunburst to a dominant 1-? length win over the three-year-olds and upward fillies and mares in the feature race.
Walcott kept Sunburst in check through the early stages before making his move at the quarter pole and holding off Broadway Bonnie to reach the wire first.
The experienced reinsman capped off a superb day in the saddle when he brought the 10-year-old roan gelding Bear Fabulous Son with a sharp late run to beat the three-year-olds and upward by a nose over a mile. CMC