Just how far will a rider go to get the chance to defeat Canadian Triple Crown-winning jockey Patrick Husbands? If you're Richard Dos Ramos, the answer is great lengths, plus a few thousand miles.On Jan. 3 at the Garrison Savannah in Barbados, Dos Ramos and several other Woodbine-based riders will take part in "Patrick Husbands Day," a special celebration that includes a trio of races featuring jockeys (invited by Husbands) that currently compete at the Toronto oval. The day will also recognize native son Husbands' numerous achievements over the past year, including his memorable Triple Crown score with Canada's Horse of the Year Wando.
While going up against a four-time Sovereign Award-winner on his home turf isn't an enviable task, Dos Ramos insists he isn't simply going along for the ride. "I told him that I'm coming down there to undress him," joked Dos Ramos, who will be joined by Woodbine regulars David Clark, Gerry Olguin, Jono Jones and Ray Sabourin, just to name a few. "I don't want him to be the only one to say he's got a crown on his head." A portion of the money raised through the event, which pits 'Team Canada' versus 'Team Barbados,' will be given to a local area children's hospital. And while the participants on each side have yet to be determined, Dos Ramos says the three-race competition is far from the most significant aspect of the day."The fact that the money will be going to a worthwhile cause is a great idea, something every guy involved supported right off the bat," said Dos Ramos. "As far as the races are concerned, it's all about bragging rights. It would be nice to have something to tease the guys about when the season starts again (April 17)."Still, Dos Ramos, who recently completed his 22nd year in the saddle, won't be letting up once the gates open."Everyone in the jocks' room would do anything for one another, but when you get out there on the track, it's every man for himself. You have to think that way."Before he contests the tight turns at the Garrison Savannah, Dos Ramos, along with several of the riders, will compete in a jockey's championship in his native Trinidad on New Year's Day."When the people at the Arima Race Course in Trinidad found out we were coming to Barbados, they invited us to come down," said Dos Ramos, who hails from Port of Spain, Trinidad. "We have to leave at six in the morning and get back to Barbados right away for Saturday's draw."Though he doesn't know who he'll be riding, Dos Ramos is more concerned with making sure the playing field is level, so to speak, on Saturday."We have to make sure Patrick isn't going to be on all the big favorites," said the Brampton resident with a laugh. "I told him that I was going to check the bottom of the hat to make sure no names were stuck there when they pull the names out. He had a great year, but I wouldn't mind getting the better of him this time."