Veteran jockey Patrick Husbands returns to Woodbine following injury

TORONTO — Veteran jockey Patrick Husbands is poised to make his 2019 debut Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

The 45-year-old Barbados native suffered a broken pelvis last November after being dismounted from Islay Inlet prior to a race. Husbands required separate surgeries in November and February and afterward spent time in Barbados recovering.

Not surprisingly, Husbands, who has been riding at Woodbine the past 25 years, is anxious to continue his career.

“I feel very good,” Husbands said. “It’s something that you can’t really explain, because it’s me, you know.

“I’m proud to be back. In terms of the injury I went through, I thought I was crippled when the horse landed on me and I had no feeling in my leg until I got into the emergency (ward) at Sunnybrook. I feel thrilled to be walking and I feel thrilled to be riding in the races again. I feel so blessed.”

It’s not the first time Husbands has been hurt. In May 2013, he suffered a fractured right tibia. The injury took four months to heal, but Husbands was back riding in September.

Even during his recovery this time around, Husbands found himself back in the tack last month at the Garrison Savannah in Barbados. Not long after, he returned to Toronto to resume his fitness routine as well as working horses at Woodbine in the morning.

Husbands enters the season with 3,285 career wins and almost $160 million in earnings, including multiple stakes and a Canadian Triple Crown (2003 aboard Wando). He has been named Canada’s top jockey seven times and in 2014 he rode Lexie Lou, Canada’s horse of the year, to victory in the Queen’s Plate.

Still, Husbands admits he’s feeling anxious heading into Saturday’s card.

“I go out there on the weekend and I ride and I’m going to be nervous just to get back on the racetrack,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I got to do what I got to do and I’ve got to please the owner and trainer.”

Despite his impressive resume, Husbands still feels the pressure to perform heading into his 26th season at Woodbine.

“Every race you ride, you got to go out there and prove to people that you can do it again,” he said.

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