By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport


SCENE & HEARD:  Heavy rain and cold winds failed to dampen the spirits of New Stride supporters two Sundays ago for a seven-race card that featured the 89th running of the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity.

As recipients of the Community Day Program sponsored by Hastings Racecourse, a gathering of 90-strong converged on a covered patio area for a New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society fund-raiser.

And raise funds they did, thanks in no small way to the generosity of draw prizes donated by former horseman Rob Van Overschot and Denise Praill, daughter of local horse racing advocate Darlene Smith.

Van Overschot, a sales consultant with Key West Ford, donated two portable Asus VivoBook computers while Praill, Chief Development Officer at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, sweetened the pot with a framed photo of the great stallion California Chrome autographed by legendary jockey Victor Espinoza, trainer Art Sherman and owner Perry Martin.

“Along with a donation from Hastings management we exceeded our expectations,” said a beaming Linda Lytle, New Stride secretary-treasurer. “Not only did we have a large contingent of volunteers show up, there were also many new faces on hand and that’s always encouraging.”

As president Bill Randall points out, the Society has been re-homing former thoroughbred race horses for 17 years. With the help of a dedicated staff, volunteers and grants as an accredited non-profit organization of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, New Stride has found adoptive homes for over 160 horses since 2002.

“We would love to take in more horses,” says Lytle, a retired executive director with the College of Pharmacists of BC who’s been a volunteer with New Stride since 2010. “We get grants from the Horse Racing Management Committee that includes CTHS, HBPA, TOBA, a donation and ongoing support from Hastings Racecourse and can’t thank Glen Todd enough for his direction and input.”

Funds raised provide the horses with essentials such as feed and supplements, expert farrier services, medical care and re-training while they transition to their forever homes.

Interested parties are welcome to drop by the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society booth at Chilliwack Heritage Park during the popular ‘‘Mane Event’ showcase that runs from October 25 thru 27. More information is available at