By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: It was in August of 2008 when the return of night racing became a significant news item on the Vancouver sports and entertainment calendar. “Three Fridays in September that had originally been scheduled as afternoon cards will be changed to night-time starts,” announced Raj Mutti, Hastings Racecourse General Manager at the time. “If the response is encouraging, we’ll look at similar plans in the future.”
So here we are a decade later with the immensely successful Friday Night Live cards returning tonight as the season’s first of six scheduled under the lights.
“It has created a large younger demographic fan base that has discovered live racing as an entertainment destination on Friday nights,” says Darren MacDonald, Hastings GM and Director, BC Racing. “Things have advanced to the point where racing every Friday during the month of August will be under the lights with seven o’clock start times.”
The return of night racing means Saturday becomes a day off at Hastings this weekend, resuming with the regular Sunday afternoon start time at 1:50 p.m.
Did we say “regular” Sunday afternoon? That word hardly applies to this Sunday with Sports Alumni Day at the Races featuring legendary Vancouver sports personalities from the Canucks Alumni, BC Lions Alumni, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and former Hastings jockeys appearing for charity throughout the afternoon.
Silent auction items include Ultimate Game Experience packages from the Canucks Alumni for an NHL game, pre-game sideline passes and executive club seats to a BC Lions game and four premium club tickets to a 2019 regular season Whitecaps FC match plus autographed jerseys and a signed ball. Hasting Racecourse is donating a River Rock Casino Resort one-night stay in two-bedroom executive suite and dinner for four at Tramonto, an award-winning Italian setting at River Rock.
Mascots Fin (Canucks), Spike (Whitecaps FC), Leo the Lion (BC Lions) and the Felions will be on hand to add to the excitement. VIP tickets to a meet-and-greet under the Marquee Tent will be available on-site or online at vancouversportsalumni.com