Vancouver, B.C. (June 19/15) — An enthusiastic gathering of mostly first-time owners was on hand early Sunday morning to watch their latest investment breeze for the first time at Hastings Racecourse.

With trainer Steve Henson and manager Richard Yates hosting the freshly-minted team of partners who have joined the Hastings Racing Club, Urban Achiever made his initial appearance at precisely 9:06 a.m. to a surge of gasps from his new owners.

The two-year-old colt purchased earlier this month at the Barrett’s Sale at Del Mar Racetrack in California, breezed two furlongs in 25.40 under exercise rider Brian (Rio) O’Riordan.

“He has a quick turn of foot,” Henson told the group that has its own blue-and-white section reserved in the grandstand.  “A two-year-old colt is like a young boy learning to walk. In a perfect world, we’ll have him in a race during the first week of July.”

Yates, Secretary Treasurer of The Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of B.C. (HBPA), has volunteered to be the point man in managing the Hastings Racing Club.

“My job is to make you enjoy the experience,” Yates said. “I will try to teach you what it means to own a horse.  You’ll be licensed and be able to park in the owners’ lot and walk through the backstretch to get to your section on race days.”

The personable Henson quickly added:  “I’m really encouraging you to come to our barn and you should know my horses eat mints.  We’re trying to open a whole new world to you, folks.  You’re welcome to visit Urban Achiever any time.”

Yates said the $250 memberships have reached 130 with the cut-off being 200. “I was optimistic when we started this and the response has far exceeded my expectations.”

The HBPA, BC Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association (BC TOBA) Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society BC Division (CTHS) and Hastings Racecourse management are partners in this unique concept geared to introduce new people to the racing industry. The plan is to purchase privately a second horse in California or elsewhere within the next few weeks.

“The turnout this morning is awesome,” said Darren MacDonald, Hastings Racecourse General Manager and BC Director of Racing. “Over and above those who have already invested, there are quite a few others here asking questions and learning how this is going to work. The response has been great.”

Since Urban Achiever will be in blue and white silks for his racing debut, MacDonald had a special grandstand section painted in those colours.

“It’s a nice touch,” said new owner Gary Walters from Burnaby.  “I already feel important and the fun is just getting started.”

Further information is readily available by contacting Richard Yates at rayates@shaw.ca