By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Emergence and resurgence are two words that come to mind when reflecting on the 2018 thoroughbred season that draws to a close following nine-race cards on both Saturday and Sunday at Hastings Racecourse.
Youth was certainly served when two-year-old fillies Summerland and Dancin Shoes emerged onto the stakes scene and Here’s Hannah didn’t disappoint by dominating the company of three-year-old fillies.
Summerland, trained by Phil Hall, won the Fantasy and Spaghetti Mouse stakes for owner George Gilbert. Dancin Shoes swept the competition off its feet in the Sadie Diamond Futurity and Debutante for Mr. & Mrs. David Pihl and trainer Barbara Heads.
Here’s Hannah doubled those stakes performances in winning the BC Oaks, Hong Kong, Supernaturel and Ross McLeod for Paul Caravetta and his BC Stables ownership group with trainer John Morrison sharing the limelight.
They ‘emerged’ while a couple of veteran campaigners ‘resurged’ with 2016 Champion Older Horse in the Open Division – Calgary Caper – bouncing back to star status and Victress providing some uplifting emotional moments for owners Rob and Vicky Gilker.
Calgary Caper won three stakes this year: the Grade 3 BC Premiers, BC Cup Classic and Lieutenant Governors for owners Kim Peacock, Lance Giesbrecht and Phil Hall. Victress won her only two starts at Hastings in 2018: the Ballerina and Monashee.
There won’t be any last-minute dramatics on closing weekend as far as this year’s individual award winners are concerned. With Enrique Gonzalez having left the building for his home in Mexico, Amadeo Perez is a lock for the Leading Jockey title. His 52 wins will make it the third time in his riding career at Hastings that he’s been king of the hill.
Phil Hall has captured his second consecutive Leading Trainer title and Glen Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company does the same in the Leading Owners category.
Not to be forgotten in the 2018 highlight reel is the remarkable riding performance by the engaging Aaron Gryder when he won five consecutive races on August 25 including three straight $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes victories. It was a feat that resulted in international headlines and Gryder, as is his custom, took it all in stride.