HorseRacing Central – March 22nd, 2013



A sure sign that the start of the 2013 thoroughbred racing season is near can be underlined by the arrival each morning of the clockers diligently recording workout times of those horses prepping for the coming campaign.

With opening weekend at Hastings Racecourse set for April 13-14, activity both on and off the track heightens each day.  “At last count we had over 600 horses on the grounds,” says Raj Mutti, Regional General Manager, BC Racing.  “That number is expected to grow to 800 within the next couple of weeks.”

Mutti said the target for opening weekend is to schedule eight races on each day that would include two allowance races for those horses prepping for the season’s first two stakes:  the $50,000 Brighouse Belles (fillies & mares, 3-years-old & up) on April 27 and the $50,000 George Royal (3-years-old & up) on April 28.

The jockey colony continues to grow with 20 currently on site, including last year’s leading rider Amadeo Perez.  He won 96 races in 2012 with purse earnings of $1,385,088.  Marlo Dunn, leading apprentice jockey in 2012 with 27 wins and earnings of $374,886, has been actively galloping horses since the track opened for morning workouts in February.

Two veteran jockeys who have graced the Hastings scene for many years have hung up their riding tack but will remain on the scene in other capacities.  Pedro Alvarado. a four-time leading jockey at Hastings (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006) will be on the scene this year as a trainer while Chad Hoverson, a veteran of 36 years in the saddle, begins a new career as a jockey’s agent.


Kentucky Derby points keep rolling this weekend as the 3-year-olds look for a spot at Churchill Downs on May 4.  The $550,000 Spiral Stakes goes at Turfway Saturday (2:50 p.m.) with a competitive field of 12 going a mile and an eighth in the Grade 3 event. The 3-1 morning line favourite is Ontario-bred Uncaptured (Miguel Mena) for trainer Mark Casse.

Sunday is the signature day at Sunland Park in New Mexico with a 12-race card that includes the $800,000 Sunland Derby (4:40 p.m.)


The first two races at Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino Friday night (tonight) will be the eliminations for the Penny Bath Final.  The $15,000 Final will go the following Friday.

Lil Dude Starrbuck, retired at 12 years of age after 50 career wins and over $700,000 in earnings, will be honoured tonight.  First race goes at 7:00 p.m. with Sunday’s card beginning at 12:45 p.m.