HorseRacing Central – March 15th, 2013


With four weeks to go before the launching of the 2013 thoroughbred season there is a feeling of urgency in the air at Hastings Racecourse as morning workouts continue prior to the April 13-14 opening weekend.

“We have 550 horses on the grounds and we’re looking forward to an exciting start,” said Raj Mutti, Regional General Manager, BC Racing and Hastings Racecourse General Manager.  “Our goal is to increase handle and field size for a third consecutive year.”

Mutti earlier announced both the 69-day racing calendar and 40-race stakes schedule that offers $2.5 million in purses.  They are available at


Hastings Racecourse long ago adopted jockey Mario Gutierrez as its own and the native of Veracruz, Mexico says that’s okay with him.  By winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes on I’ll Have Another last year, Gutierrez gave Hastings a huge shot in the arm with his constant return visits last summer to his “home track” as he took mounts in key Vancouver stakes races.  Mario began his career at Hastings at the age of 19.

The Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation has named Gutierrez winner of the 5th Annual Hartack Charitable Foundation Award.  Mario will be presented the Hartack Memorial Ring by his Vancouver mentor Glen Todd at a dinner reception on April 17 at the Derby Restaurant near Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.


Trainer Bob Baffert will be looking for his fourth consecutive win with heavily-favoured Super Ninety Nine in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on Saturday,  (2:48 p.m.).  Rafael Bejarno rides Super Ninety Nine from post 11.  The race is the last major prep at Oaklawn before the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 13. The next major Kentucky Derby prep goes Sunday, March 24 at Sunland Park in New Mexico, a race that traditionally attracts some of the top 3-year-olds from California.

On Saturday, March 30 fans can watch and wager on the last thee races from Dubai on World Cup Day.  The entire card will be available on HPI while the Dubai Duty Free (9:40 a.m.), Sheema Classic (10:20) and the $10 million World Cu (11:05) will be simulcast at Hastings Racecourse, Fraser Downs Racetrack and all TBC outlets.


The $20,000 Muriel Fornwald Memorial Final is the Friday night feature at Fraser Downs. Muriel was a long-time breeder and owner in B.C. The feature goes as the third race on Friday’s card with the top two morning line choices being Degas Protégé (8-5, Rick White) and The Sin Bin (9-5, J.F. Gagne).  The field consists of six pacers but just five wagering interests.

Start times at The Downs are 7:00 p.m. Friday and 12:45 p.m Sunday.