Vancouver, B.C. (Aug. 23/19) — If ever there was a perfect advertisement for the 2019 CTHS Yearling & Mixed Sale next month in Langley, it was in full view Friday night at Hastings Racecourse.
When the tears and cheers subsided, a couple of CTHS Sales grads were surprise winners of the $50,000 stakes featured under the lights before a crowd that grew as the night wore on with PNE Fair patrons dropping by to see for themselves what all the commotion was about at the neighbouring racetrack.
The noise hit a crescendo when 13-1 longshot Butterscotch Blend broke her maiden winning the CTHS fillies division by two-and-a-half lengths over 4-5 betting favourite Northern Graystar.
Butterscotch Blend was purchased for $20,000 at the 2017 CTHS Sale and had been winless in five starts, a good enough reason for part-owner Lana Brindley to tear up in the winner’s circle celebration. “I can’t thank Rob and Vicky Gilker enough for taking care of our Butterscotch,” Brindley said on behalf of co-owner Joy Cameron, who also share ownership with the Gilker training twosome.
Emotions ran even deeper when winning rider Jose Ascencio was embraced during a sudden visit from his dad Gabriel, a retired jockey who now exercises horses at Hastings. The father-son combination previously rode on the same cards until Jose suffered career threatening injuries as a 20-year-old in 2017. Gabriel sat at Jose’s VGH bedside day and night during his recovery period.
Butterscotch Blend paid $29.10, $7.80, $4.50, finishing the mile and sixteenth journey in a final time of 1:45.75.
Slew’s Da Boss made it back-to-back $50,000 stakes upsets in the CTHS colts and geldings division when odds-on favourite Weekend Wizard (1-5) ran out of magic and finished fifth in the six-horse field. Trained and co-owned by popular Mel Snow, Slew’s Da Boss closed with a rush to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths under a masterful ride by Antonio Reyes.
“This horse is as honest as they come,” Snow said of the $6,500 CTHS Sales purchase in 2016. “He can run short, run long … whatever your throw at him.”
Slew’s Da Boss scored a final time of 1:44.57 over a mile and sixteenth, paying $11.10, $5.00, $3.20.
It was victory number 35 of the season for Reyes, who is tied with Richard Hamel after Hamel won the last three races on Friday’s card. Enrique Gonzalez, skunked on Friday, maintains the lead with 36 wins.
As hard as they compete at track level, several of the Hastings jockey colony will be rubbing friendly shoulders next Thursday (Aug. 29 at 5:00 p.m.) in support of the Disabled Riders’ Fund at the Lougheed Village Bar and Grill. Open to the public and under the direction of Jeannie Spence and Lisa Russell, a $25 cover charge includes a burger and beverage, raffle, 50-50 draw and toonie toss,
Live racing resumes Monday at 6 p.m.at Hastings with free parking to complement free admission.
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