Veteran Barbadian rider Patrick Husbands extended his impressive added-money form at Woodbine when he paired with 8-5 favourite Skygaze to win the CAN$100 000 Belle Mahone Stakes in Canada on Sunday.
Going a mile and sixteenth for the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares, Husbands produced a stalking ride aboard the talented four-year-old bay filly to reach the wire in one minute, 42.73, three lengths clear of the field.
Skygaze, conditioned by champion trainer Mark Casse, is out of American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Skyscape.
“Last time I rode her she was a little bit quiet so today, I went alone and warmed her up because it showed in her form that she likes to be in the race and the last time I rode her she was flat the whole way with me,” Husbands explained afterwards.
“From the time I warmed her up, she showed me that she really wanted to be in the race. So I left the gates and I put her in the race … and she showed she was the best.”
Six-to-one chance Fate Factor rattled off the early fractions, posting 24.79 seconds for the quarter and 48.73 for the half, with Husbands on the leader’s flank, and 6-1 bet No Mo Lady in third and Art of Almost and Saratoga Vision battling for fourth.
Heading towards the turn, Husbands sent Skygaze up to join Fate Factor and had taken sole possession of the lead when the race turned for home.
No Mo Lady and Art of Almost offered brief opposition mid-stretch but Skygaze kicked on strongly to be going away at the finish.
“By the three-quarter pole, I was loaded. I had so much horse. She was just the best today,” said a beaming Husbands.
The victory was one of two on the day’s 11-race card for Husbands, the multiple-time champion taking the $123 200 race two over 7-½ furlongs with 4-1 choice Victory Town.