Barbadian Rico Walcott has not enjoyed the usually dominant start to his western Canada campaign.
So his double on Sunday’s seven-race card at Century Mile here was more than welcomed, helping him to kick-start an otherwise tame opening to the new season.
Walcott missed out in the day’s first two races but finally reached the winners’ enclosure in race four over 5-½ furlongs when he guided favourite Maskwecis to a 2-¼ length victory over the three-year-olds.
He raced the brown gelding just off the pace set by Serappy and Flat Out Leader before reeling in the leaders at the top of the stretch and dominating the run through the lane.
Walcott’s second win of the day came aboard 4-1 bet Lute in race seven, bringing the three-year-old helding with a late run to beat the three-year-olds and upward over six furlongs.
Stormy Spirited, Imperial Sun, Sly Not Shy and Double Ransome all disputed the lead early on before Double Ransome emerged as the clear leader.
Lute trailed early on in the eight-horse field but made good ground off the final turn and was in a heated battle with Double Ransome and Artic Reign at the top of the stretch.
But Double Ransome kept Lute honest and Walcott could only get home by a head in the end.
A multiple-time champion at the now defunct Northlands Park, Walcott now has five wins from 20 outings this season, three shy of leader Rigo Sarmiento.
Antiguan Kwame Joseph, meanwhile, also tasted success when he paired with 9-1 outsider Quintero in race one to get the better of the three-year-old and upward maidens by 1-¾ lengths in a six-furlong sprint.
The Century Mile season runs from May 21 to November 1.