By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: This ‘lady in red’ is literally everywhere on race days at Hastings.
Wearing a crimson blouse that identifies her as an official Group Sales representative, Janis Phillips is spreading goodwill throughout Silks Restaurant one minute, escorting guests to visit Dan Jukich in his broadcast booth the next and appears like magic in the winner’s circle with a bouquet of flowers for successful owners and trainers of feature races.
And that’s just part of her routine.
Janis and husband Brian, former horse breeders and owners dating back to 1972, still set their alarm for 4:30 a.m. as they prepare for a daily trip to Hastings from their home in Guilford.
“I go to Dino’s (Condilenios) barn and Brian heads to Jim Brown’s,” Janis says. “We walk horses and do whatever has to be done just to help out. It’s still in our blood.”
The husband and wife team has been on the Hastings grounds for the past 45 years. “We sold our last horse last fall to an owner in Portland,” Janis says. “That was Rocket Star, a B.C. bred. We never had a stakes runner but always had solid claimers that would be competitive and occasionally win. We considered ourselves very lucky to be part of it all.”
The high school sweethearts from Russell, Manitoba engaged in totally different professions during their earlier years of marriage. Brian was an architectural draftsman and Janis ran the sales team at Auto Trader Magazine for Vancouver and the Interior.
“Brian was helping out Lance Giesbrecht when he had a little stable in the early l970’s,” Janis recalls. “That’s where it all started.”
Former jockey Tammy Snow, who has since successfully joined husband John in the training profession, pioneered a new concept with Janis in 2002 when they were hired to teach Silks and Sky Box racing patrons the art of handicapping.
“I still enjoy that part of my duties to the fullest,” Janis says. “I answer all kinds of questions and it’s nice to have people come back and thank me for helping them out.”
Janis Phillips seems to live for ‘helping people out’. And horses, too