Thursday, October 22, 2009

Woodbine Apprentice Scores Thrilling Victory At Odds of 90-1

In a field of eleven maidens travelling five furlongs on the Woodbine polytrack, apprentice Terry Husbands guided 90-1 shot Winn Creek from the outside post to an unlikely victory on Wednesday night. It was the jock's first win at Woodbine.

Terry Husbands, nephew of Patrick and Simon, scored at 90-1 on Wednesday night

In the sixth race of Wednesday's overnight card, Winn Creek broke alertly and Husbands hustled his horse to the front of the pack. Sneaking two quick peaks to his inside, Husbands realized there was no room to get to the rail. No Molestar, starting from post nine with Eurico Rosa da Silva, was blocking the apprentice's path.

"Winn Creek is trying to flash to an early lead and he's going to have some trouble doing it," cautioned track announcer Dan Loiselle.

Accepting his fate, Husbands threw caution to the wind and racing five-wide made an early move. Ears pricked, Winn Creek accelerated gamely as Husbands guided the three-year-old gelding to a length's lead into the far turn.

The field fanned six wide into the stretch. Under pressure, Winn Creek was gobbled up and appeared to be beaten. Doc the Lock, under Luis Contreras, was threatening to pass on the outside while Emma-Jayne Wilson was scrubbing hard on Awholenewballgame along the rail.

In a matter of strides, the race changed. Doc the Lock failed to fire and an all-out battle in the last sixteenth of a mile commenced between Husbands and Wilson, each trying desperately to find the wire first.

A flurry of right-handed rips from the two jocks pressed the two maidens ever closer but the 90-1 shot's stride was lengthening. Husbands horse dove dominantly from his outside position and in the final jump Winn Creek surged in front to score by a head. Tellingly, the young gelding galloped well out in front with Husbands standing tall in the irons.

The tote board lit up though the young jock appeared rather calm considering the coup. As first wins go, this will be one that earns Terry Husbands some bragging rights.

Horse Win Place Show
Winn Creek $188.90 $44.50 $10.40
Awholenewballgame $4.40 $2.80
Doc the Lock $2.70

Wager Runners Payout
$2 Exactor 11 / 5 $1,173.70
$1 Pick 3 3 / 3 / 11 (3 of 3) $1,089.95
$2 Triactor 11 / 5 / 10 $4,839.00

(Video of the race can be found on the HorsePlayer Interactive website. )
* * *

I enjoyed this race immensely because I have just published a story in Down The Stretch featuring three Woodbine apprentices - including Terry Husbands. Also featured in the story are Caroline Duquet and Brian Cheyne. Hopefully, the piece inspired at least one lucky punter to take a gamble if they picked up the paper on track!

The three competitors have a common link in that they are all pursuing the family business. Husbands, of course, is the nephew of Woodbine jockeys Patrick and Simon Husbands; Brian Cheyne is the 20-year-old son of trainer Gail Cheyne and ex-jockey John Cheyne; and Caroline Duquet's sister Joanne has worked as both a jockey and trainer in western Canada.

Brian Cheyne following in his father's footsteps

The DTS piece outlines Cheyne's work ethic and some of the bumps and bruises that come with being a jockey. In this excerpt, Cheyne describes his first victory.

On September 13th, Cheyne steered his first-ever ride at Fort Erie aboard Brother's Griem finishing fifth. One day later, Cheyne scored his first win, aboard trainer Billy Lane's 5-1 Bubba Luke.

“I was coming around the 3/8 pole and I knew I was sitting on a lot of horse,’ recalled Cheyne. “I get to the 5/16 pole and the rail started opening up. At the 1/4 pole I moved my horse along and I got the inside and ran on.”

The 5'3" Cheyne weighs in at just under 109lbs.

Despite having just four races under his belt, the Fort Erie stewards were suitably impressed with Cheyne’s composed hand-ride to give the apprentice his whip.

Cheyne has yet to score at Woodbine but there's little doubt his time will come.


The 21-year-old Terry Husbands gained much needed race-riding experience in Manitoba earlier in his career, but is now content to work on his trade here in Ontario under the tutelage of his famous uncles.

As excerpted from the DTS piece, Husbands advises that having two famous uncles helps but there's still work to be done:

“Patrick talks to me all the time in the room and makes sure I’m traveling the right road,” laughed Terry. “He gets mad at me sometimes. It's tough love. Patrick tells me to put my stick in my left hand more and try to keep horses closer to the pace and not let them fall out of the race.”

When not on the back of a real horse, Husbands like to practice in the jock’s room on the Equicizer training horse. A true student of the game, Husbands also spends a great deal of time watching racing DVDs.

Husbands is taking on mounts at Fort Erie as well in an effort to gain more experience. I suspect the quality of his mounts will continue to improve off of last night's effort.

* * *
27-year-old Caroline Duquet has a reputation of being a very hard worker in the morning. The effort put in during morning gallops can often translate into afternoon success on the track and Duquet is reaping the benefits of her industry.

Previously employed as a manager at a cattle farm, Duquet is no stranger to long, hard days. After changing her career path, Duquet found her way first to Northlands Park and now to Woodbine where she is learning the ropes under the guidance of agent Mike Luider and fellow rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.

Caroline Duquet isn't afraid of a bit of hard work

In the DTS piece, Duquet describes the joy of winning her first race:

“It was awesome,” exclaimed apprentice jockey Caroline Duquet of her first ever Woodbine win aboard Honour Fulfilled. “That filly has a big heart. She had a big late kick and down the lane I said ‘Okay girl, we're going to run’ and we were both winners that night.”

While Duquet was soaking up the atmosphere of her first win, her fellow jockeys were preparing to swoop.

“In the winners circle, Gerry Olguin was waiting with the hose,” laughed Duquet. “I took the photo, jumped off the horse and Gerry showered me with the hose. It was only the beginning.”

Caroline Duquet on post parade

Duquet goes on to praise Wilson and Rob Landry for their well-taken advice. The good-natured jockey continues to pick up mounts as she works towards becoming a fixture at the Rexdale track.

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The latest edition of Down The Stretch covers a lot of territory. There's a feature on trainer Roger Attfield and all the Woodbine Stakes reports. As well, the harness side of the game is blanketed with pieces regarding Well Said and the Breeders' Crown eliminations.

If you would like a hard copy of Down The Stretch, please send me an email with your mailing address.


Ernie said...

Man, Terry's gonna love this post 50 years from now!!

Keith - TripleDeadHeat said...

Heya Ernie,

I think every first win deserves a full and proper write-up. None of this, "Husbands scored in a maiden event by a neck..."

Gimme the details!

50 years from now? I'm sure there'll be something way better than Internet by then!