Veteran Barbadian rider Patrick Husbands produced a confident gate-to-wire effort aboard 5-1 choice Mr Ritz to comfortably win the feature Grade III CAN$125 000 Seagram Stakes at Woodbine here Sunday.
Going a mile and sixteenth for the three-year-olds and upward, Husbands guided the Carroll-trained four-year-old bay colt to the finish, 1-¼ lengths clear of the field in a time of one minute, 42.75 seconds.
“He came out of there and he owned the lead. He got everything his way,” said Husbands, who claimed his fourth Seagram Cup title.
Thor’s Rocket, the longest shot in the field at 66-1, finished second while 5-1 chance Special Forces crossed the wire third.
Hot favourite Mr Havercamp broke sharply along the rails but Barbadian Husbands rushed Mr Ritz up to contest the lead and open up a four-length advantage.
Mr Ritz then took the field through easy fractions of 24.88 seconds for the quarter and 48.57 for the half, with Mr Havercamp chasing from second and Rose’s Vision and Thor’s Rocket stalking.
Husbands brought Mr Ritz off the final turn about two lengths clear to lead into the stretch, and came under a challenge from Mr Havercamp and Thor’s Rocket along the rails.
However, once Husbands put Mr Ritz to the whip, the colt responded impressively to pull away again and ease to the finish.
The victory was one of three on the 11-race card for the 46-year-old Husbands as he also won race four with favourite Town Cruise and race eight with 9-1 choice Lakeside Park.
In a six-furlong sprint in race four, Husbands partnered with the four-year-old chestnut gelding Town Cruise, snatching the leading along the backstretch to control the encounter and beat the three-year-olds and upward by 2-½ lengths.
And in another six-furlong sprint in race eight, Husbands again made all the running as he steered the chestnut gelding Lakeside Park to a narrow victory by a neck over the two-year-old maidens.
Husbands, a seven-time Woodbine champion, is fifth in the jockeys standings on 38 wins from 178 rides, and winnings of $1.8 million.