Eleven years separated Patrick Husbands celebrating a Queen’s Plate victory.
It was worth the wait.
The Barbadian-born jockey rode Lexie Lou to victory last Sunday at Woodbine in the longest continuously run stakes race in North America and the first jewel in Canada’s triple crown of thoroughbred racing.
The horse crossed the finish line in the mile and one-quarter race in 2:03.94.
Husbands was aboard Wando on his run to the Triple Crown in 2003.
“I called everybody in Barbados on Saturday to say I was coming home to celebrate the Queen’s Plate,” said Husbands, who boarded a flight to the Caribbean island hours after the big race. “Everybody left there (the gate) running. My filly was so relaxed. I had so much confidence in her going into the race.”
Lexie Lou provided six-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer, Mark Casse, with his first Plate win after he had finished second in 2011 with longshot Hippolytus and was third with Dixie Strike in 2012 and Dynamic Sky last year.
“I don’t think I believe it quite yet,” said Casse. “It was thrilling and it was really nice to have my family here. My son Colby started crying afterwards and caused me to cry. It’s a great day.”
Lexi Lou became the 35th filly to capture the three-year-old Canadian bred classic since 1860 and the sixth filly to win the Woodbine Oaks and Plate since 1956. Inglorious was the last to achieve the feat three years ago.
The leading jockey at Woodbine on five occasions, Husbands won a record seventh Sovereign crown five years ago while becoming the only rider to surpass the $10 million mark in purse earnings that year.
The 2003 Barbados Service Star recipient began his riding career at Woodbine in 1994. The first season was challenging as Husbands, who won the prestigious Cockspur event in Barbados at age 16, failed to secure a ride in the first five weeks and was contemplating returning home when his older brother Aubrey intervened and encouraged him to stay.
He won 12 races that year, 50 the following season and his first stakes event in 1998, when he posted 131 wins in 780 starts.
Husbands, who became a Canadian citizen in 2000, is in the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame.
By RON FANFAIR