We’ve shared a lot of great times this season at Hastings Racecourse. Some of the highlights that come to mind would be our salute to Canada Day, the BC Day Festival of Racing, the Deighton Cup and Sports Alumni Day with past and present members of the Canucks, BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps mingling with our own legendary jockeys.

But I think you will agree, today’s 72nd running of the BC Derby, the  running of the BC Oaks and four additional premier stake races stand alone as the ultimate afternoon of entertainment on this 2017 racing calendar.

I know our management team is excited and will be making every effort to ensure each of you enjoys the day to its extreme. Full credit goes to the horsemen and racing industry folks who work so tirelessly in contributing to the success of BC Derby/Oaks Day.

This year it is particularly satisfying to see top quality horses ship in from Northlands Park and Emerald Downs to compete against the cream of the Hastings crop in today’s six stakes.

Having such reputable trainers as Rod Cone, Robertino Diodoro and Tim Rycroft join us from Edmonton as well as Doris Harwood and Blaine Wright from Emerald Downs is a thrill in itself. Harwood won the BC Derby with Winning Machine in 2009 and hopes to continue her winning ways at Hastings with Little Dancer in today’s BC Oaks.

Legendary California-based jockey Aaron Gryder rides for Blaine Wright in both the BC Derby (Riser) and BC Oaks (Top Quality). Gryder became an instant hit with local fans when he spent the 2013 racing season here as Glen Todd’s first-call rider. Always approachable and engaging with the media and racing public, Aaron won 45 races at Hastings in 2013, including eight stakes.

Enough cannot be said, as well, about our very own trainers, jockeys and owners appearing on this afternoon’s card. The talent runs deep.

Good luck everyone!


Darren MacDonald

General Manager, Hastings Racecourse

Director, BC Racing