KINGSTON, Jamaica – FOR the first time in 50 years at Caymanas Park the battle for the jockeys’ crown has ended in a tie, involving 2012-2014 champion Dane “Warrior Chief” Nelson and 2018 champion jockey Anthony “St Mary” Thomas.
Nelson and Thomas each finished the 2020 racing season with 84 winners after both were absent from competition for the last two race days of the year.
Nelson rode Stanislaus to victory in the second race on December 23 to pull level with Thomas before falling from his mount, Leo shortly after injuring his groin. Thomas, who was winless that day, got sick (food poisoning) and both riders stayed out of the saddle for the December 26-27 weekend of racing.
The only other time the jockeys’ championship ended in a tie was in 1970 when Jose Bravo and Richard DePass won 53 races each.
While Thomas said that the anti-climax to the jockey’s race was unfortunate, he was grateful to complete his second championship win in three years.
“Well, it is just unfortunate something like that happened. I got sick and was unable to ride the last two race days. I just left everything in God’s hands [and] it just worked out as how it should have. I am coming quite well now from the illness.
“It feels good to win my second title as everybody sees you out there and I always try to do my best. Thanks to everyone who supported me,” Thomas said.
Thomas booted home two winners on Saturday’s nine-race programme to get his 2021 campaign off the mark.
Thomas rode Purple Wayne to victory in the City of Kingston Centenary Cup feature over one mile for trainer Robert Pearson. Purple Wayne won by seven lengths in a time of 1:39.4 for the distance.
His second was aboard the Wayne DaCosta-trained England’s Rose, who made one move to win the top-rated Restricted Overnight Allowance event over five furlongs on the round course. England’s Rose won by a length and a quarter in a time of 59.2.
Commenting on the win by England’s Rose, Thomas said the key to victory was to get the horse out front and allow her to run her race.
“She (England’s Rose) is very comfortable running that way [from in front] and so I tried to get her to do that – running as comfortable as possible in her running style,” Thomas said.