Overall Wagering Up 14.7% Compared to Previous Year
Vancouver, B.C. (Nov. 9/15) – When the local racing industry’s three associations and management at Hastings Racecourse introduced a new initiative called the Hastings Racing Club this past June, not even the most enthusiastic optimist figured it would become such a colossal and instant hit.
With a cap of 200 members, racing fans were invited to invest $250 to become equal ownership partners in two thoroughbreds that would be purchased by the industry on their behalf.
“The idea was designed to drive new owners to our sport and teach them the inner workings of the business,” says Darren MacDonald, General Manager at Hastings Racecourse. “Quite honestly, we never thought it would take off like it did.”
As a result, MacDonald has been invited by the Jockey Club of Canada to address its Annual Meeting in Toronto on Nov. 22 to elaborate on the structure and success of the Hastings Racing Club.
One of the two horses in the Club – a 5-year-old gelding named Square Dancer – won three races in four starts, including two stakes: the $100,000 Redekop Classic on BC Cup Day (Aug. 3) and the $75,000 S.W. Randall Plate (Sept. 13). Trained by Steve Henson, Square Dancer finished second in the $100,000 Grade 3 Premiers Handicap (Oct. 12) to complete his season at Hastings with purse earnings of $117,250.
Square Dancer is in the running to be named Open Horse of the Year at the 2015 Thoroughbreds Award Dinner at Newlands Golf & Country Club on Dec. 3.
Richard Yates, Secretary Treasurer for the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of British Columbia (HBPA), took over management of the Hastings Racing Club when it was formed last June. Yates is in the process of putting the final touches to increasing the Club membership by 100 new owners for the 2016 racing season.
All Sources Handle Shows Increase in 2015
MacDonald was pleased with the year-end review at Hastings Racecourse that showed a 14.7% increase over last year in all sources wagering (on-track and simulcast). “Over our 53 days of live racing we averaged $551,000 per day for a season total of just over $29 million,” MacDonald noted. “The on-track numbers were off but overall we were up and that bodes well for next year.”
MacDonald said the Oct. 12 Thanksgiving Day handle was the highest in years with a total of $1.05 million wagered on an eight-race card. On that day, the mandatory Sea to Sky Pick 6 paid 37 winners a total of $10,774.18 on a 20-cent winning ticket.
The 2016 thoroughbred season at Hastings Racecourse begins on Sunday, April 17 and will encompass 53 dates, concluding on Sunday, Oct. 16. “We have added a sixth Friday Night Live card because of popular demand,” MacDonald said. “This past season reservations were sold out on Friday nights two months in advance, mostly to the corporate sector. We’re currently looking to expand our available areas for group space to accommodate the Friday Night Live patrons.”
The 2016 racing dates are available at www.hastingsracecourse.com
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