Reyes & Hamel Add to Suspense with Stakes Wins
Vancouver, B.C. – (Sept.29/19) – Antonio Reyes rode Brave Nation to victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 BC Premiers Sunday at Hastings Racecourse.
Richard Hamel rode Here’s Hannah to victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 Ballerina Saturday.
Reyes and Hamel. Hamel and Reyes. They are literally neck-and-neck in the current Leading Jockey standings.
Not even Hastings’ Hall of Fame race announcer Dan Jukich would dare call a winner at this late stage of the season. Especially with Enrique Gonzalez and Amadeo Perez still in the hunt.
Reyes and Hamel are tied at 47 wins with just eight racing days remaining on the local thoroughbred calendar. Gonzalez has 46 while Perez sits at 40 after both were skunked on the weekend.
While Here’s Hannah’s extended her overall record to 12-1-1 at Hastings with a highly-anticipated victory in the Ballerina, it was a different scenario for Brave Nation who paid a bountiful $21.50, $6.60, $2.90 as the longshot in a five-horse field that reeked of previous stakes-winning talent.
It was a special moment in the winner’s circle for owner Gordon Christoff, along with the husband and wife training duo of John and Tammy Snow since Brave Nation had finished second by a neck to Calgary Caper in the 2018 Premiers.
“John never had any doubt about this time,” former jockey Tammy said as her husband dutifully went about the business of fitting Brave Nation with his new victory blanket.
Brave Nation finished the 1 3/8-mile journey in a time of 2:18.00. “I waited as long as I could and when I asked him to make his move, he responded,” Reyes said after finishing 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Final Jeopardy.
Hamel echoed some similar sentiments following his win with John Morrison-trained Here’s Hannah in the Ballerina.
“I was waiting for the right time to move and it all worked out today,” Hamel said, referring to the fact Here’s Hannah “lost focus”, in his words, when losing by a head in the Delta Colleen to a charging Bear.
Here’s Hannah’s Ballerina win paid $4.20, $2.60, $2.10, finishing the 1 1/8 mile journey in 1: 49.91.
Phil Hall maintained his colossal winning margin in the Leading Trainer standings with his 47th win of the year on Saturday as jockey Jose Ascencio aboard GMT Baby served notice he was preparing for a thriving weekend. Ascencio scored a natural hat-trick on Sunday winning with Kodiak Kwik in the 4th race, Move On in the 5th and Hilariouslynaughty in the 6th.
Trainer Steven Henson shared that same lovin’ feeling Sunday with wins in the first race (Don’t Hold Me Back), second race (Harnersbach) and fourth (Kodiak Kwik).
The racing season at Hastings swings into October with cards Saturday and Sunday, both at the regular 1:50 p.m. start times.
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