Brilliant Crawford targets lead after four-timer

Veteran Barbadian rider Juan Crawford produced a brilliant day in the saddle at Fort Erie Tuesday, reeling off four wins to insert himself into the battle for the jockeys’ championship at the southern Ontario racing oval.

The 41-year-old won race two with 3-1 choice Quality Brew, race three with favourite Express Banking, race four with another favourite No Ring before also capturing the final event on the seven-race card with 2-5 bet Our Petunia.

With the success, Crawford stormed to 17 wins for the season which got underway June 2, and now lies fourth but just three off the lead held by Melanie Pinto.

Helen Marie Vanek, who won twice on the day’s card, sits second on 18 wins with Jamaican Kirk Johnson third on 17 wins but having the edge over Crawford on second and third place finishes.

Crawford, now a regular face on the Canadian circuit, opened his account in a 6-½ furlong sprint, when he edged the three-year-olds and upward by a head with the four-year-old bay gelding Quality Brew.

Seal Team raced to a six-length lead through the quarter run in 23.86 seconds but Crawford brought Quality Brew from stalking position to challenge on the far turn and get the better of a stretch duel with Seal Team.

Crawford wasted little time in doubling his tally, securing another close victory when he got the four-year-old bay filly Express Banking to the wire by a neck over the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares.

Going six furlongs, Crawford kept tabs on the duelling Lenches Gimme and Snell Flicka before getting to the lead on the turn and then outlasting Lil’s Turn in the drive to the finish.

Perhaps Crawford’s most dominant ride came in a mile trip in race four when he led three-year-old No Ring to an eight-length clobbering of the three-year-olds and upward fillies and mares, in a front-running performance.

The pair produced healthy clicks of 24.12 seconds for the quarter and 49.10 for the half mile, and were already three lengths clear at the top of the stretch in preparation for the drive.

Crawford was again commanding in his final win of the day, making all the running with four-year-old bay filly Our Petunia, to collar the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 4-1/4 lengths in a 6-½ furlong sprint.


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