HorseRacing Central September 25, 2009
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE RACING ENDS
The ‘Friday Night Live’ series at Hastings Racecourse concludes tonight (Sept. 25) and General Manager Raj Mutti says there has been every indication from racing fans that the concept was popular and will return next year with even more Friday nights scheduled. “It was an opportunity for us to expose and showcase our product to different demographics,” Mutti says. “Judging by the comments we’ve received, most guests enjoyed the excitement and atmosphere.”
ACTION-PACKED RACING WEEKEND IS SET
With the wonderful September weather continuing through the weekend, Hastings Racecourse is braced to attract record back-to-back crowds with the $125,000 BC Oaks on Saturday and $275,000 BC Derby on Sunday.
They are the two main features on a weekend card that also includes the $50,000 Delta Colleen Saturday and two additional major stakes on Sunday: the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill and $50,000 Derby Bar & Grill Express. Both Saturday and Sunday cards start at 1:50 p.m.
Local star Tierra Del Feugo, trained by Barb Heads, will have some strong competition in the BC Oaks, a 1 1/8 miles test for 3-year-old fillies. Invaders La Rocca and Ochoa are strong candidates and have a bit of a history against each other. Trained by Terry Jordan, La Rocca beat Ochoa when they met in the Sonoma Stakes at Northlands Park on Aug. 31. Ochoa came right back with a win in a $40,000 claiming race at Northlands on Sept. 6. Not to be overlooked, is Miss Kay Dee Raine, trained by Gary Saitz and ridden by 62-year-old jockey Alan Cuthbertson. Miss Kay Dee Raine went off at 24-1 and lost by a nose to Tierra Del Feugo in the Hong Kong Jockey Club stakes.
The Delta Colleen for older fillies and mares features a match-up between Summer Song and Against the Sky.
The 64th running of the BC Derby presented by The Vancouver Sun goes as the eighth race Sunday with an approximate start time of 5:29 p.m. Post positions were determined at Thursday’s Derby Dinner/Draw in the fabulously-decorated George Royal Room at Hastings Racecourse. Here’s how the $275,000 “crown jewel” of the local racing season shapes up on the program:
PP1: Winning Machine (Gallyn Mitchell) 9-2; PP2: Jersey Tom (Alan Cuthbertson) 7-2; PP3: Ganbei (Geovanni Franco) 15-1; PP4: Rooster City (Seth Martinez) 8-1; PP5: Quinalt (Frank Fuentes) 15-1; PP6: Gather de Justice (Mario Gutierrez) 8-1; PP7: Noosa Beach (Jake Barton) 12-1; PP8: Senor Rojo (Richard Hamel) 8-1; PP9: Tommy Danzigger (Pedro Alvarado) 2-1.
MISS BC DERBY
The crowning of our 2009 Miss BC Derby will take place shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Contest details with profiles of the finalists can be found on the Hastings website as well as the Hastings Facebook page. And don’t forget Sunday’s draw for a trip for two to the 2010 Kentucky Derby. You must be in attendance to win.
OUT OF TOWN
Stakes action starts at Woodbine with the $250,000 Selene Stakes (12:24 p.m.) for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and sixteenth. The race features start filly Milwaukee Appeal, the 6-5 favourite. It’s a big afternoon in Kentucky as Turfway Park hosts three Kentucky Cup races: the $100,000 Distaff (1:58 p.m.), the $100,000 Sprint (2:51 p.m.) and the $250,000 Classic. At Belmont Park the brilliant filly Indian Blessing will fight it out with Sara Louise as they both have their final preps before meeting Ventura in the Filly and Mare Sprint on Breeders’ Cup day.
Fairplex is staging its closing weekend and they will have two stakes on their program: the $75,000 Las Madrinas (4:20 p.m.) for fillies and mares and then the $50,000 Pomona Derby (5:10 p.m.) for 3-year-olds. The annual closing stake at Emerald is the $75,000 Joe Gottstein Futurity (5:39 p.m.) which showcases seven 2-year-olds going a mile and a sixteenth.
The $150,000 Ontario Derby (1:33 p.m.) featuring Queen’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard is the headliner at Woodbine. The final stake race at Fairplex Park is the $125,000 Ralph Hinds Invitational (5:10 p.m.) for older horses at nine furlongs. The Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita gets underway next Wednesday.
FRASER DOWNS KEEPS ACTIVE
“Too many horses; not enough races,” says Fraser Downs Director of Racing Jackson Wittup. He’s looking forward to Oct. 15 when the Fraser Downs schedule expands to three cards a week.
Both 7:30 p.m. cards tonight (Sept. 25) and Saturday (Sept. 26) have 13 races on their agenda with the maximum nine starters in all but three of them. Beginning Oct. 15 there will be three weeks of Thursday night racing (6:00 p.m.) to complement the regular Friday/Saturday evening cards. Then through the winter months (Nov.-March) there will be Friday/Saturday/Sunday dates with the matinee Sundays starting at 1:15 p.m.
“At the moment we have 525 stalls filled at Fraser and another 125 occupied at two nearby training centres,” Wittup says. “It’s great for the industry. And it’ll be even greater when we start going three times a week.”