WINNIPEG - It was a great Father’s Day for Antonio Whitehall.
The 24-year-old jockey from Barbados fired a hat-trick on Sunday as he won his 13th, 14th and 15th races of the season at Assiniboia Downs and took over the jockey lead from Adolfo Morales.
Whitehall, who won two legs of the Barbados Triple Crown in 2014, started quickly on Sunday afternoon. He won Race 2 on Stevie Mac for trainer Shelley Brown, beating Tadaa with Rohan Singh aboard.
He won Race 3 aboard Langara for trainer Don Schnell and owners Barry Arnason and True North and then won Race 5 on Phenomenal Phoenix for trainer Jerry Gourneau and the Gourneau Brothers.
It was a tremendous afternoon of racing for Whitehall and capped a brilliant three-day effort. Last Wednesday, Whitehall had two wins, a second and a third in seven races. On Saturday, he had two third-place finishes in seven races and on Sunday, he had three win and two second-place finishes. He was very close to a five-win afternoon. In total, he had five wins, three seconds and four thirds in three days of racing.
After 15 days of the Downs’ 50-day meet, Whitehall has taken the lead. Whitehall has 15 wins, 23 seconds and nine thirds in 73 starts and has won $174,352 for his owners while Morales, who won once on Saturday has 13 wins, seven seconds and 11 thirds in 45 mounts and has won $136,921. Tyrone Nelson, who won twice on the weekend, is third with 11 wins, six seconds and 11 thirds in 58 starts and has won $120,252.
It has been a brilliant week for Whitehall who has four mounts on Wednesday night, including the favorite, Open Hand, in Race 3. If you bet jockeys, betting Whitehall is a good decision these days.
Meanwhile, on the trainers’ side of the ledger, with three wins this past weekend, Jerry Gourneau continues to lead with 15 wins and $130,713 in earnings in 87 starts. Defending champion Tom Gardipy Jr., is next with 10 wins and $98,537 in earnings in 82 starts after three wins this past weekend. And Don Schnell is next with 23 starts, nine wins and $88,009 in winnings.
Things are heating up at the Downs and after 15 days of racing, we are in the midst of one of the most competitive seasons of racing in more than a decade.
While the Red River Exhibition is on, right next door to the Downs, remember to use the Saskatchewan Ave., back entrance to the track. Access Saskatchewan via Cavalier Drive or Buchanan Boulevard off Portage Ave. If you’re driving west down Saskatchewan Ave. from Sturgeon Road you will have to take a detour down Hamilton Avenue because a part of Saskatchewan Avenue is closed during the reconstruction of a bridge over Sturgeon Creek. Got all that? I know, it can be confusing, but it will be a problem until next Sunday.
Don’t forget, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the free VLT tournaments continue, starting at 8 p.m. each night. You can get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins. The top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.
And every Friday and Saturday, the Downs presents $10 buy-in poker. The registration is at 8 p.m. and the game starts at 8:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy Assiniboia Downs