September 10, 2013

The biggest and richest day of the year was a day of dreams at Hastings Racecourse Sunday.

From wealthy owner Peter Redekop to the struggling stable of trainer Brian (Spud) O’Connell, there were unforgettable thrills in the making before 10,000-plus fascinator and fedora-clad thoroughbred fans on BC Derby Day.

Redekop won the $150,000 BC Derby Sunday with Edmonton invader jockey Rico Walcott on Title Contender, an upset winner that paid $22.00 for trainer Anita Bolton.  Redekop won the Derby last year with Second City and was also in the Derby winner’s circle in 1994 with Squire Jones.

“You never get used to it,” Redekop said.  “Title Contender ran an awesome race.  My heart was in my throat at the finish.”  Finishing the 1 1/8 miles course in a final time of 1:48.24, Title Contender paid $22.00, $12.10, $5.90 and was the catalyst in a triactor payoff (5-2-6) of $1,630.10.

There were cheers and tears in the winner’s circle following the $100,000 BC Oaks for 3-year-old fillies when Mario Gutierrez rode Tempered Steel to a 3 ½ length victory in what O’Connell called “a win for the little people”.

In a perfect advertisement for Tuesday’s CTHS thoroughbred sale for 117 yearlings at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, B.C., Tempered Steel was a $500 purchase after she didn’t reach her reserve in the 2011 sale.

Tempered Steel, coming off a win over B.C.-breds in the BC Cup Dogwood on Aug. 5, took command approaching the final turn Sunday and widened her margin over the final furlong, finishing in a time of 1:48.24 and paying $9.60, $5.20, $3.40.

In a photo finish that many observers were predicting might be  a dead heat, favoured Andallthatitmeans won the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity by a nose over Neverabettercause for 2-year-old colts and geldings.  Owned by Mr. Redekop, emotions were running at a fever pitch in the winner’s circle when jockey Scott Williams related that his dad Danny rode the Jack Diamond winner Ladnesian in 1981.

Favoured Arabella’s Muse crushed the field in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity for 2-year-old fillies. Owned and bred by Leif Nordahl and his daughter Karen, Arabella’s Muse with Frank Fuentes up won by 5 ½ lengths for trainer Toni Cloutier.  The payoff was a modest $2.80, $2.30, $2.10.

Veteran trainer Dave Forster praised jockey Rico Walcott for his winning ride on Madeira Park in the $50,000 Delta Colleen for fillies and mares.

Wilo Kat upset favoured Commander in the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate with Amadeo Perez in the irons for trainer John Snow. Wilo Kat paid $12.20, $3.40, $2.20.

Live racing resumes at Hastings Racecourse Saturday and Sunday with regular start times of 1:50 p.m.