HorseRacing Central – Friday, March 29th



They are trendy, fashionable and will most certainly be in demand on Saturday, April 13 – opening day at Hastings Racecourse.


Initially introduced in the local sports marketplace by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, souvenir scarves instantly became a big hit with the BC Lions, Vancouver Canucks and BC Sports Hall of Fame.


Now thoroughbred racing fans can get in on the craze. A limited edition of Opening Day Hastings Racecourse scarves will be given away prior to the 1:50 p.m. start on Saturday, April 13.  Back-to-back eight-card races will launch the 2013 season on the April 13-14 weekend.


With the countdown to the start of the 69-day racing calendar ticking away, Raj Mutti – Regional General Manager, BC Racing – is enthusiastic about what lies ahead.  He proudly points to the continuation of Hastings’ industry-leading low takeouts that remain at 15% Win, Place and Show as well as the Pick 3, 4 5 and Daily Double features that will be in play for the entire season.




The Hastings 40-race stakes schedule begins the weekend of April 27-28 with the $50,000 Brighouse Belles on Saturday, April 27 and the George Royal on Sunday, April 28. In total, there will be $2.5 million in purses for the stakes events that include the two richest single-day cards of the season:  BC Cup Day on Monday, August 5 and BC Derby & BC Oaks Day on Sunday, September 8.


“We’ve spread out the stakes races this year and have created eight special event days,” Mutti says. “Overall, it is a nicely balanced schedule.”


The stakes schedule and regular season schedule are now available




The competition ran from January 5 to March 16 with $7,000 in total prize money and the big winner of the Series 2 Handicapping Contest was Roy Yip who pocketed $1,000 and a $100 Win/Place wagering voucher.  Larry Voong finished second with third-place going to Scott Kelly.  Jewel Kositsky, Regional Manager, HPI, was thrilled that a record total of 327 players entered the contest.  “The number of contestants shows us it is popular with our customers,” Kositsky says. “Our mandate next year will be to attract 500 players.”




It’s an early start Vancouver time on Saturday but the Dubai World Cup with $27 million in total purses will be attracting millions of fans from all over the globe.  Glen Todd’s Derby Bar & Grill opens its doors at 7:00 a.m. and will start the morning with the fourth race on the eight-race card.  Hastings’ adopted son Mario Gutierrez rides He’s Had Enough in the $2 million UAE Derby for owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill.  Post time is 7:25  a.m. PDT,


Also on Saturday from Gulfstream Park is the Florida Derby for 3-year-olds vying for Kentucky Derby points.  It’s race 12 on the card and goes at 3:19 p.m. PDT.   At Fairgrounds in New Orleans on Saturday the feature is the $1 million Louisiana Derby going at 3:44 p.m. PDT.




Race 9 on the Good Friday card (12:45 p.m. start) at Fraser Downs Racetrack is the $15,000 Final of the Penny Bath Memorial.  Sweet Like Candy, a winner of the elimination last week, has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favourite.  The other elimination winner, Im Tu Die For, has drawn the number 8 post and will need to find a decent spot off the gate. Sunday’s feature is the $15,000 Final of the Keith Linton Memorial.  There were not any eliminations required and a field of eight 3-year-old colts and geldings will do battle with the 2-1 favourite being Big N Bad.


Final reminder:  both the Friday and Sunday cards begin at 12:45 p.m.


The 2012 HarnessRacing BC Standardbred Industry Awards Banquet is set for April 18 at Newlands Golf & County Club. Call for 604.574.5558 for more information.