Trainer Troy Taylor Also Wins Co-Feature Strawberry Morn

The home-town racing hero returned to his roots at Hastings Racecourse Monday afternoon and didn’t disappoint his army of admirers.

The entire east end of Vancouver no doubt heard the bellowing cheers for jockey Mario Gutierrez aboard Taylors Deal as he turned on the jets to win the $50,000 John Longden 6000 for trainer Troy Taylor.

It was also a banner day for Taylor, the 82-year-old thoroughbred racing icon who was in the winner’s circle for a comfortable victory aboard I Think So under veteran jockey Alex Bisono. Taylor’s horses treated him to wins in four races on the Victoria Day holiday card that attracted an estimated crowd of 8,000.

The all-sources live mutuels handle of $1,050,386 was the largest so far of the Hastings Racecourse meet.

Taylors Deal upset favoured Title Contender in the finale of Monday’s impressive card. Gutierrez was surprised to hear his 1 ¼ length victory in a final time of 1:15.57 over the six and one half furlong distance was just two-fifths of a second off the Hastings track record of 1:15.00 set by Torque Converter in 1996.

“Had I known,” Mario joked in the winner’s circle, “I would have pushed him a little harder.”

Taylors Deal paid $6.60, $2.60 and $2.20 for owner Glen Todd, Mario’s mentor and good personal friend who arranged for the 2012 winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes to make a special guest appearance from southern California

I Think So handily won the Strawberry Morn going gate to wire to beat Overvalued by more than three lengths. I Think So paid $6.80, $3.40 and $3.50 in a final time of 1:16.29.

Thoroughbred racing resumes at Hastings Saturday and Sunday with 1:50 p.m. start times. The sixth annual Mascot Derby, a big hit with fans of all ages, is set to go Sunday.