August 20, 2013

Runner-Up Finish Saturday at Canadian Derby Kicks Things Off

Vancouver, B.C. (August 18, 2013) – Craig MacPherson had been too busy on the weekend to even think about the Leading Trainer standings at Hastings Racecourse. But once he takes the time, he can relish the fact that back-to-back stakes victories Sunday vaulted him onto the top rung of the Hastings training ladder.

MacPherson returned from a second place finish in Saturday’s $200,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands in Edmonton to saddle winners in both the $50,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club and $50,000 Richmond Derby Trial Sunday afternoon at Hastings.

“It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours,” MacPherson beamed.  “I’m still running on adrenalin. Days like this don’t come along too often.”

MacPherson and owner Chad Joe were satisfied with a runner-up finish by Reporting Star to favoured Broadway Empire in the Canadian Derby, especially since their recent acquisition had to come from far off the pace to gain second place. Reporting Star will be a prime contender in the $150,000 BC Derby on Sept. 8.

Back on home turf Sunday at Hastings, the owner/trainer combo of Joe and MacPherson celebrated an impressive win in the Hong Kong Jockey Club with Miss Derek.  The 3-year-old filly took command entering the final stretch of the 1 1/16 miles test and won by 1 ¼ lengths in a final time of 1:44.17 with Enrique Gonzales in the irons. With the win, Miss Derek has earned a ticket to the $100,000 BC Oaks on Sept. 8.

MacPherson returned to the winner’s circle in the Richmond Derby Trial when veteran jockey Richard Hamel won his second of three races Sunday on Bluegrass Pride after taking command in mid-stretch and holding off a late charge by Tracker. Finishing the 1 1/16 miles in an exceptional final time of 1:42.94, Bluegrass Pride will be another MacPherson hopeful in the BC Derby.

Hamel boosted his riding wins at Hastings to 34 this season with victories on Cry Cry Cry ($5.70), Bluegrass Pride ($5.30) and Blue Minnow ($3.30).

Hastings leading jockey Amadeo Perez overcame the No. 10 post to score a 1 ½ length win over Stryker Phd in the 78th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs for elated trainer Rob Gilker and owners George Robbins and Darcia Doman.  Perez also finished second aboard Wando Woman in the Emerald Distaff for fillies and mares.

After such a lively weekend both home and away, all trainer and jockey hands will be on deck with the resumption of live racing at Hastings Racecourse on Wednesday at 1:50 p.m.