HorseRacing Central – April, 26th, 2013



The opening two stakes races of the 2013 thoroughbred season at Hastings Racecourse share the weekend spotlight with the $50,000 Brighouse Belles for older fillies and mares going Saturday and the $50,000 George Royal for older colts and geldings set for Sunday.  Both eight-race cards start at 1:50 p.m.

“The beginning of the stakes season is like the start of NHL playoffs,” says Raj Mutti, Regional General Manager, BC Racing and Hastings’s General Manager. “It’s when some of our best horses on the grounds get a chance to perform with added purse money on the line. We’re pleased to have the stakes calendar get underway with the Brighouse Belles and George Royal. Traditionally, they are two classic events.”

Evelyn’s Dancer, a four-time stakes winner last year including the $100,000 BC Oaks, makes her 4-year-old debut as the Brighouse Belles morning line favourite. Trained by Troy Taylor, Evelyn’s Dancer will be ridden by leading jockey Aaron Gryder.

Not to be overlooked is Overvalued, trained by Tracy McCarthy and ridden by newly crowned Sovereign Award winner Scott Williams, named last week as Canada’s Outstanding Apprentice Jockey for 2012. Overvalued won the Brighouse Belles last year as well as the Ladies Express Speed Handicap.


Some notable talent will make things interesting in Sunday’s George Royal that has drawn seven horses including Commander, who didn’t lose a race in Western Canada in 2012.  Commander finished the year with an impressive victory in the $100,000 BC Premiers to go along with winning the SW Randall Plate earlier in the season.  Trained by Troy Taylor and ridden by Aaron Gryder, Commander goes up against stable mate Devil in Disguise (Scott Williams), Senor Rojo (Richard Hamel), Clear the Runway (Fernando Perez) and first-time Hastings starter Shrug (Frank Fuentes), who’s been racing in California for Swift Thoroughbreds and trainer Carla Gaines.   Commander and Devil in Disguise, both owned by North American Thoroughbred Horse Company (NATHC), will not be coupled in Sunday’s wagering. Unquiet (Alexander Marti) and Wilo Kat (Antonio Reyes) complete the George Royal field.


Churchill Downs opens its spring meet Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. PST and a reminder that Hastings Racecourse and Fraser Downs Racetrack simulcast coverage from Churchill Downs of the Oaks and Kentucky Derby on the May 3-4 weekend will begin with Race 3 on both days.  Doors open at Hastings and The Downs at 8 a.m. on May 3 and May 4.  Once again the Oaks-Derby daily double will be available in B.C.