Barbadian Patrick Husbands won his second added-money race at Woodbine racetrack this month when he made all the running with 6-5 favourite Mr Ritz to win the CAN$150 000 Grade III Seagram Cup on Sunday.
The 47-year-old broke the five-year-old bay horse sharply, set a steady pace before holding off the fast-finishing Skywire and Cooler Mike, to reach the wire two lengths clear in a time of one minute, 43:28 seconds.
For the seven-time Woodbine champion, the victory was his fifth in the event and pushed his overall tally of wins for the new season to 21 from 115 rides.
“When he made the lead, I was a little worried with that horse [Explode] pressuring him, but he was so relaxed,” trainer Josie Carroll said afterwards.
“You could tell he was very relaxed and then we he got a 24 seconds [quarter], I said, ‘You know what, they’re not going to catch him today.’”
She added: “I was a little bit disappointed [in his season’s debut], but he definitely got a little tired. He needed that race, he had all winter off and it showed a little bit.
“We thought he was very, very tight – he had been excelling in his works – but there’s nothing like a race to really tighten him up, especially at this level of competition.”
Going a mile and sixteenth for three-year-olds and upward, Husbands ensured Mr Ritz out-sprinted Explode to produce splits of 24:28 for the quarter-mile and 47:95 for the half-mile.
Husbands brought Mr Ritz off the final turn two lengths clear but quickly came under challenge from Cooler Mike and Avie’s Flatter.
However, Husbands got extra out of Mr Ritz late in the stretch for the horse’s sixth win in 13 starts.