HorseRacing Central August 14, 2009
PARKING ADJUSTMENTS DURING PNE FAIR
While the 2009 Fair at the PNE doesn’t begin until August 22, the PNE has began their yearly set up and its effected our parking immediately. Our normal preferred parking areas will not be available beginning today but parking lots 6 and 9 will be available and our shuttle service will be running during weekends. Also, during the Fair, Hastings Racecourse has arranged for Complimentary Admission simply by showing your BC Gold or HPI Card. Admission will be through Gates 5, 6, 9 and 10.
INAUGURAL MASCOT DERBY SUNDAY
Talk about a photo op: 24 mascots all in one place at one time! To help raise funds for Variety – The Children’s Charity – these friendly characters will meet and mingle with their fans this Sunday - August 16 - at Hastings Racecourse starting at 1 p.m. under the Marquee Tent that becomes a Mascot Village for the day. Then – shortly after 4 p.m. – 14 mascots will line up in the official Hastings starting gate for a 100-yard dash at track level. Patrons can support their favourite mascots through pledges with a chance to win trips for two to Las Vegas, a River Rock Resort package and much more. Regular thoroughbred racing begins at 1:25 p.m. Sunday. And just like the ‘real deal’, the mascots will gather in the Paddock prior to their race and participate in a Parade to the Post.
No admission charge. Everyone welcome.
WHAT’S ON TAP
There are two stakes on the Saturday program at Woodbine. First up is the exciting match up of Smart Surprise vs. Ginger Brew in the $100,000 Belle Mahone Stakes (12:24 p.m.) and about an hour later the 2-year-old fillies will battle in the $150,000 Debutante (1:25 p.m.).
There’s always big action at Saratoga where the feature is the $500,000 Sword Dancer (2:47 p.m.) for turf specialists at a mile and a half. The morning line favourite is Grand Couturier (3-1) followed by former Breeders Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now. It makes for a great betting opportunity because the top two don’t appear to be on the top of their game so horses like American and Quijano become more appealing.
On the west coast down the I-5 at Emerald Downs the headliner is the $75,000 Washington Oaks (5:09 p.m.). Unfortunately, it has attracted only a field of four. At Del Mar, the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (5:30 p.m.) for 3-year-olds on the Jimmy Durante turf course is the feature event.
The Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs (5:00 p.m.) is the big race of the day and it will be a showcase of locally based runners competing in the $300,000 event. It is a ‘Win-And-You’re-In’ Breeders’ Cup qualifier and installed as the morning line favourite is Awesome Gem (Russell Baze) from Southern California. The second early choice will be a Northern Cal shipper, Sierra Sunset (William Antongeorgi).
Swift Thoroughbred’s Teide (Chad Hoverson) appears to have the best local chance as he enters the Mile off back-to-back scores at Hastings. He’s worked well since and looks primed for a top effort, Joining him in the gate is Norma and Leo Shaw’s Bank Emblem (Frank Fuentes), a narrow loser in the $50,000 Don Fleming at Northlands Park. Also on the Emerald program is the $100,000 Distaff (4:30 p.m.) with Todd and Kinsella’s Holy Nova (Mario Gutierrez) as one of the choices in the mile and an eighth event. She will have to battle with Washington champ Elusive Horizon, whom she dead-heated the last time they met. Blue Sky Holiday (Chad Hoverson) is also entered in the Distaff.
At Saratoga the feature is the $100,000 West Point (2:56 p.m.) for older turf runners at nine furlongs. At Woodbine the spotlight will be on the $125,000 Victoriana Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile and sixteenth on the E.P. Taylor turf course. There’s more turf action as Del Mar hosts the $350,000 John Mabee Stakes (5:30 p.m.) for fillies and mares at a mile and an eighth.
HANDICAPPING CHALLENGE AT FRASER DOWNS
It happens every Sunday at Fraser Downs and it’s become extremely popular: The Derby Bar & Grill $1000 Weekly Handicapping Challenge. They’re into Week 4 with the tracks involved being Hastings, Woodbine, Saratoga and Del Mar. First prize is $500; second prize is $250 and there are $150 and $100 wagering vouchers from the Derby Bar & Grill for third and fourth, respectively.
Pick up your ballots on Saturday for a list of contest tracks and mandatory races. Ballots must be handed in prior to the start of the first contest race to qualify.