With the curtain closing on our 2017 thoroughbred racing schedule this afternoon, I’d like to share what I consider my five favourite memories from this past season.
1) Daz Lin Dawn – The word ‘sensational’ immediately springs to mind when you consider this three-year-old filly was purchased at the 2015 CTHS Yearling & Mixed Sale for $15,000. She went on to win seven straight stake races this year for owners JDP Holdings Ltd., Delton Stable and Nancy Betts, who also trains this daunting daughter of Popular. Daz Lin Dawn boosted her career earnings to $280,650 with her $55,000 winner’s share of the BC Oaks on September 9. Nancy summed things up perfectly when she said: “I’ve waited 30 years to have a horse like her.”
2) Awesome Slate; Notis the Jewell – From $16,000 claimers to Grade 3 stakes status were the journeys traveled by Awesome Slate and Notis the Jewell this year. It was quite a weekend on Oct. 8-9 when Richard Hamel scored back-to-back stakes victories on these four-year-olds: Notis the Jewell in the Ballerina and Awesome Slate in the BC Premiers. Trainer Cindy Krasner claimed Kentucky-bred Awesome Slate on behalf of Jake Kalpakian on Sept. 1 and in his first start for his new connections he won the $30,000 HBPA Claiming Championship. Notis the Jewell, bred in B.C. by the late Len Fielding, is leased and trained by Bill McLaren. She won the Delta Colleen and Pacific Brokers in two previous stakes starts and gets another shot at a stakes win in today’s BC Cup Distaff.
3) The Deighton Cup – The ninth annual Deighton Cup at Hastings on July 22 was heralded as Vancouver’s top fashionable event of the summer. It was also a huge benefit to the racing industry with 5,000-plus patrons creating big numbers at the wagering windows. It was second only to our BC Day Festival of Racing on the holiday Monday Aug. 7 in terms of on-track handle.
4) BC Derby – This year’s Grade 3 $150,000 BC Derby was referred to by racing analysts as one of the best in recent memory and it certainly turned out that way with three favourites hitting the wire together. Chief Know It All, ridden by Rico Walcott, won by a nose. Trained by Robertino Diodoro, Chief Know It All was coming off a victory in the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park and withstood some fierce competition to narrowly beat fellow invader Trooper John. Favoured Emerald Downs Derby winner Riser finished third. That three-horse cluster at the wire will not soon be forgotten.
5) FAN SUPPORT – Despite our delayed start of the season due to inclement weather the support of racing fans in 2017 was outstanding and on behalf of our entire team, a sincere thank you. We look forward to another exciting year in 2018.