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Jockey Leader Prayven Badrie: Focused on Winning

June 13, 2024 4:33 PM | Sports

By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)

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Assiniboia Downs

Prayven Badrie

Prayven Badrie at the Backstretch Kitchen at Assiniboia Downs, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (SCOTT TAYLOR PHOTO)

With five wins this week, Prayven Badrie is on top of the jockey standings at Assiniboia Downs once again.

Badrie, the 34-year-old veteran rider from Trinidad, who won the jockey title at ASD in 2018, has re-committed himself to his profession this spring and the results have been reflective of the work he’s put in – and the focus he’s maintained.

This past week, Badrie was red-hot. On Monday night, he won twice. In Race 3, he brought She’s My Priority to the wire first for owner Henry Witt Jr. and trainer Jerry Gourneau. Then, in Race 5 he rode Deanos Cape to victory for Witt Jr. and Gourneau once again.

On Tuesday, he won Race 1 aboard Dazzling Gold for trainer Michael Nault. Then, On Wednesday night, he won Race 4 on Screenplay for owner Witt Jr. and trainer Gourneau; and then won Race 5 aboard Lt. Norm for trainer Steve Keplin Jr.

That five-win week gave Badrie a four-win lead over Damario Bynoe in the jockey race while it helped Gourneau all but secure another trainer’s title (that’s right, just four weeks into the meet). Gourneau has 17 wins already in an amazing 84 starts. That’s nine wins ahead of No. 2 Devon Gittens and 45 starts ahead of No. 2 Wendy Anderson (39) who hasn’t sent half as many horses to the gate as Gourneau.

Meanwhile, after the first 10 days of ASD’s 50-day meet, Badrie is on top of the standings with a comfortable 14 wins, seven seconds and six third-place finishes and has earned his owners a season-high $111,505. Damario Bynoe is second with 10 wins, seven seconds and two thirds while defending jockey champion Antonio Whitehall is third with nine wins, 11 seconds and eight third-place finishes and is second in winnings with $110,345.

“I’ve been getting some very good rides,” Badrie conceded. “I’ve enjoyed working with (trainer) Michael Nault. I’ve been working with him since February. He’s a good trainer and he’s got live horses. That’s all you need. Live horses.

“I’ve also been working with Jerry Gourneau and Jerry and his main owner, Henry Witt Jr., have very live horses. I can’t have success without good horses. If you aren’t riding a live horse, with speed who wants to run, it’s hard to be successful. You must have live horses.”

Badrie, who is always on the lookout for a live horse, is now a veteran at the Downs, having first come to Canada to race in 2011.

“I came to Canada in 2011 and I only stayed a month or two,” he recalled. “I won nine races, but I was young and missing my family back home, so I didn’t stay here long. I came back in 2012 and won 17 races, but I still wasn’t comfortable here and went home again. This time I stayed home for a few years and then came back in 2017, when I was 27 years old. I have come back ever since. When you first come to Canada, it’s a new, cold place and you have no family or friends and I was still quite young. But after I came back to Canada in 2017, I made sure I used my support systems back home and got accustomed to the place.”

These days Badrie talks to his family every day while they watch his races every night on the laptop back in Trinidad.

It also helps to win. Badrie won 29 races in 2017 and followed that up with 41 wins in 2018. That got him a share of the jockey’s title at ASD.

However, a spill on his last scheduled mount of 2018, left him with a broken left hip and a shattered pelvis and it took six months to recover. Then on Opening Day in 2018 at Century Mile in Alberta, he was involved in another crash that left him with a broken collarbone. He missed another eight weeks but came back and won 37 races at Century Mile that year and finished fourth in the jockey standings. Then he won 50 races at Century Mile in 2019 and his future appeared brighter than ever.

However, after comebacks from those two serious injuries, COVID hit and Badrie was stuck in Trinidad.

“The borders were shut, so I had to stay at home,” he said. “I stayed home in 2020 and 2021 and in 2022, I decided to come back to Winnipeg, because it feels more like my home. I’m comfortable here and it’s been good. I won 27 races in 2022 and then won 28 races last year. I could have done better, but I lost focus. It was my fault. My agent David Brockhill was getting me live horses, but I lost focus.

“This year, I got my focus back and I’m doing really well this year. I’m committed to keeping my focus 100 per cent this year and so far, it’s going really well.”

Badrie will be back in the saddle on Monday night at 7:35 p.m. when live racing resumes at Assiniboia Downs. Don’t forget 50/50 tickets are available every live racing night at ASD. Tickets are $10 each, 10 for $20, 50 for $50 and 200 for $100.Tickets can be purchased from the VLT cashier’s cage, at Guest Services, from the designated 50/50 seller or online at 5050.ASDowns.com. Winning ticket numbers are posted at 5050.ASDowns.com.

As well, the Manitoba HBPA will host a free ownership seminar this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the Terrace Dining Room at Assiniboia Downs. Breakfast will be served as you learn about owning a thoroughbred race horse. To register email the HBPA at hbpamanitoba@mymts.net.