By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
DERBY LEFTOVERS: As The Irish Rovers of 1980’s fame would suggest: “Wasn’t That A Party?”
Saturday’s 73rd running of the BC Derby lived up to its expectations as one of the highlights on Vancouver’s entertainment scene this year. The fascinators were fascinating, the fedoras were fashionable and a near-record crowd was thrilled with the thundering performances of the ponies on a rare 10-race card.
The surprise appearance of retired Vancouver Canucks legends and future Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Daniel and Henrik Sedin accompanying former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal in the winner’s circle following the BC Derby rocked the rafters at Hastings Racecourse. If you listened closely, you might have heard the cheers ricocheting off the North Shore Mountains.
The Sedin twins own standardbred horses in their native Sweden but had never been able to find time to visit the thoroughbreds at Hastings because of their off-season schedules. In typical humble fashion, Henrik’s major concern with their Saturday appearance was not to upstage the scheduled guest decorators already confirmed for the six stakes races.
Another legendary athlete snuck in and out of Hastings earlier in the day with one of the kindest gestures you could ever imagine.
John Haar, a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and BC Sports Hall of Fame, was awakened by his wife Carol one morning last week in their Burnaby home with startling news.
Their 35-year-old cherished apple tree in the back garden had fallen and uprooted itself through the night, leaving a bumper crop of hundreds and hundreds of McIntosh apples strewn all over the yard.
“We were busy supplying neighbours and friends with good quality apples,” Haar says, “and I suddenly I thought about how members of our family as kids would go out to the racetrack with bags full of apples for the horses.”
To fast-forward, Haar arrived at Hastings with bushels of apples for Racing Secretary Nichelle Milner, who happily distributed them to the backstretch.
The Sedins and John Haar are cut from the same cloth: always classy and caring.