By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Currently in its fourth year, the Hastings Racing Club under the artful leadership of manager Richard Yates continues to flourish. The concept was introduced by the racing industry and Hastings management in June of 2015 when racing fans were invited to invest $250 to become equal ownership partners in thoroughbreds that would be purchased on their behalf.
“The idea was designed to drive new owners to our sport and teach them the inner workings of the business,” Hastings Racecourse General Manager Darren MacDonald says. “Quite honestly, we never thought it would take off like it did.”
So much so, the initial Club capped out with 300 members eager to participate and eventually Club 2 was formed with a cap of 200 partners. Club 1 today owns Square Dancer, Shooting Jacket and Star Launch while Club 2 has A.F. Indy and Warrior’s Promise. Steve Henson trains Square Dancer, Keith Pederson trains Shooting Jacket and Star Launch; Nancy Betts works with A.F. Indy and Patty Leaney with Warrior’s Promise.
“Along the way,” says Yates, “some members will drop out for various reasons but we don’t have any problem filling the vacancies. Right now I’m going through a list of people who want to be in both Clubs.”
Yates, who wears many hats at Hastings including Secretary-Treasurer for the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of B.C. (HBPA), refers to the Club owners as “an excellent bunch of keen and eager racing fans”.
“I have over 10,000 emails on my office computer from Club members dating back to when we started,” Yates says. “On race days at least 100 members come out to watch their horses run, sometimes more. And of course we love to see those numbers show an increase in attendance. It adds to the fun of it all.”
The investment covers the cost of stabling, veterinarian and blacksmith fees, entry fees and other expenses. No membership funds are used to purchase horses.
The 10,000 emails on his office computer aside, Yates welcomes entertaining new potential Club members by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org