HorseRacing Central April 24, 2009
Mario Gutierrez, leading jockey at Hastings Racecourse the past two years, took a nasty spill last Sunday and suffered a neck injury that will keep him on the sidelines indefinitely. It was during the third race when Mario’s horse – Eight Black – suddenly hit the rail near the three-eighths pole. Gutierrez went hurtling into the drainage ditch located inside the track. Attendants said later the substantial water in the ditch might have cushioned Mario’s landing. His agent, Wayne Snow, reported later that while Mario had been released from hospital Sunday night and appeared to be in good spirits, further tests have been ordered for next week.
EARLY STREAK FOR FUENTES
Veteran rider Frank Fuentes had the grandstands buzzing on opening day last Saturday when he scored the natural hat-trick with consecutive victories in the first three races of the 2009 season … then made it four wins on the day with another first-place finish in the fifth. Fuentes was in the winner’s circle with Kula Girl, Port, Destiny’s Home and Money X Change.
Intrepid reporter with the Daily Racing Form – Randy Goulding – did a little research on Fuentes and came up with these gems: By winning four stakes races worth $100,000 in the last month last year, Fuentes finished with 82 wins for earnings of $1,469,377. That’s the most money he has won at Hastings since 1998, when he won 100 races for earnings of $1,517,312. Fuentes has been riding at Hastings since 1987 and is one of the most popular riders to ever grace the premises.
FIRST HASTINGS STAKES NEXT SATURDAY
The $50,000 George Royal - first of 41 stakes races this season at Hastings - is set for next Saturday (May 2) and trainer Cindy Krasner is ready for the return of Krazy Koffee, horse of the year in 2008. Krazy Koffee won the hearts of thoroughbred fans from throughout the province last year by reeling off five straight wins, including a dramatic victory in the B.C. Derby.
KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE
Based on victories in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, Quality Road figured to be one of the Kentucky Derby favourites next Saturday but things have changed. Quality Road has developed a quarter crack on his right front foot and it has put his status for the Derby in doubt. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he had plans to gallop the horse on the weekend and will decide Monday if the trip to Kentucky is still in the plans.
CONGRATS ON TWO FRONTS
While Bobby and Anne Hall were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at Hastings last weekend, Ray Mercer of Burnaby was celebrating the fact he won the all-expense paid trip to the Breeders Cup courtesy of Hastings and VIP Travel. Mr. and Mrs. Hall, of course, are legends in the industry after having purchased the great George Royal as a yearling back in the 1960’s.
STALLION STAKES ACTION AT FRASER DOWNS
Stallion stakes action takes over at Fraser Downs Friday and Saturday with the 4-year-old mares in action with two divisions Friday. The spotlight then shifts to the 3-year-old colts and geldings on Saturday. Dueces were wild last Friday as four drivers – Serge Masse, Keith Clark, Dave Hudon and Scott Knight – all recorded two wins on the 13-race card. Keith Clark led all drivers with four wins on Saturday with Jim Marino nipping at his heels with three.
Racing continues at Fraser Downs on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30.