Reflecting on this 2019 thoroughbred racing season, there’ve been many highlights worth sharing on this closing weekend. My ‘high fives’ would be …
Living up to her billing as 2018 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in both the BC-bred and Open Division categories, Here’s Hannah dazzled us again with five stakes victories this year that brought her lifetime earnings to $502,350 for owners BC Stables and trainer John Morrison. With Richard Hamel aboard, Here’s Hannah won the Ballerina, BC Cup Distaff, Monashee, Strawberry Morn and Vancouver Sun. She now has compiled an impressive 12-1-1 record from 14 starts, all at Hastings.
It hardly came as a surprise that Infinite Patience remained undefeated in five starts when she won the Fantasy in a stakes-record time of 1:44.6. It was her fourth stake race victory of the year, having previously romped to wins in the Sadie Diamond, CTHS Sales and BC Cup Debutante all with Antonio Reyes in the saddle. Infinite Patience finished the season with earnings of $209,500, much to the delight of trainer Barbara Heads and the ownership partnership of Bill DeCoursey and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Edmonton Oilers’ NHL fame. Infinite Patience, daughter of Sungold, was bred by DeCoursey.
Leading Jockey Race
There isn’t a veteran racing observer on the grounds at Hastings who can ever remember a final showdown in the jockey standings like the one we’ll be witnessing this weekend. Antonio Ryes has a shot at taking his first-ever title with 54 wins heading into the last two days or racing; Amadeo Perez, the defending champ, is at 53 and Enrique Gonzalez has 51. With these back-to-back nine-race cards Saturday and Sunday, it’s anyone’s guess as to which of this talented trio will come out on top. It was a four-man race prior to Richard Hamel’s retirement announcement last week after making 53 trips to the winner’s circle this season.
The Leading Apprentice in 2017 and 2016 faced a career-threatening injury in June of 2017 when he suffered a fractured spine, broken tibia bone in his leg and underwent a series of surgeries at VGH. Talk about a courageous comeback: not only did Jose win two stakes (Ascot Graduation & CTHS Sales) this year, he heads into the final weekend with 27 wins and earnings of $394,550, sitting in fifth place in the overall jockey standings.
To complete my 2019 ‘high fives’, an appreciative acknowledgement goes out to our loyal fans who again supported our exciting product at Hastings Racecourse during our special event days throughout the season. Thank you.