Rookie jockey earns first career win at Ajax Downs

Published July 14, 2022 at 9:34 am

Jockey Miguel Nicholls wins his first race as a rider aboard Caraways Angel Lane for Carol and Wayne Procter at Ajax Downs on July 13. Clive Cohen photo

It was a day of ‘firsts’ and plenty of longshots at Ajax Downs on Day 10 of the 2022 Quarter Horse racing season at Ajax Downs, July 13.

The afternoon began with jockey Miguel Nicholls winning his first-ever race as a rider when he guided Wayne and Carol Procter’s Caraways Angel Lane to victory in the first race of the day. It was also the first career start for Caraways Angel Lane, an Ontario bred for the Procters, who have been racing and breeding Quarter Horses for more than 30 years.

“It was wonderful,” said Nicholls, who came from Barbados to Canada only two years ago. “She gave me her best run. When I asked her she just kept going and going. I’m just so excited right now.”

Nicholls, 31, exercised horses in his native Barbados and rode one race before he came to work at Woodbine racetrack, galloping Thoroughbreds in the morning.

“I always wanted to be a jockey,” said Nicholls. “My weight gave me some trouble but in Quarter Horse racing the (maximum) jockey weight is a little more, so I wanted to give it a shot.”

Caraways Angel Lane, a 12 to 1 shot and the daughter of Sycamore Lane, won by three-quarters of a length.

One race later, first-time Quarter Horse owner Magen Finnessy watched her grey gelding Azures Royalty win race two on the afternoon – also as a 12 to 1 longshot – under jockey Neill Husbands. Azures Royalty was making his second start for Finnessy, who purchased the Ontario bred from owner and trainer Craig Spada last month. Sean Slater trains.

In race three, jockey Rachael Isaacs won her first race of the season aboard Down Sullivan Street for owner John Wilson and trainer Scott Reid. Incredibly, Down Sullivan Street was also 12 to 1, setting up at Pick 3 payoff, from races one through three, of almost $500.00 for a 20-cent wager. Isaacs would come right back to win race four on Kitsawinner, the first winner for trainer Paul Garrison in 2022.

Racing at Ajax Downs continues this Sunday, July 17 with Craft Brewery Day, where fans can purchase samples of local craft brewers and enter draws for prizes. On track, the day’s feature is the $40,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Maturity. Post time for the first race Sunday is 12:55 p.m.

Follow Ajax Downs on social media @AjaxDowns and visit for news and upcoming events.

With files from Jennifer Morrison

As is tradition for a jockey’s first win, rival riders doused Nicholls with buckets of water after his first victory. (Clive Cohen photo)

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