Includes Live Kentucky Derby Coverage on Jumbo Screen
Vancouver, B.C. (May 3/19) – With more than 500 horses on the grounds and 75 of them ready to race on opening day Saturday at Hastings Racecourse, the 2019 thoroughbred season is poised to get out of the starting gate in classic style. “With eight races on the card, four of them $50,000 stakes and with good-sized fields, plus live simulcast coverage of the Kentucky Derby, it’s hard not to be enthusiastic,” says Hastings general manager Darren MacDonald. “Our horsemen really delivered. We’re ready to roll.”
Saturday marks the beginning of a 51-day meet at Hastings Racecourse and the start of a stakes schedule that includes $2.27 million in purse money over the course of the season.
In a unique twist, all four $50,000 stakes will run consecutively Saturday in races 5 thru 8, making up the popular Pick Four wagering challenge. The lineup includes the Brighouse Belles for 3-year-olds & up, fillies and mares; Swift Thoroughbreds Inaugural for 3-year-olds & up; Jim Coleman Province for 3-year-olds and the Ross McLeod for 3-year-old fillies.
The running of the 145th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs will be shown live on the jumbo infield screen at 3:50 p.m. Picking up on the festive spirit of the famous Run for the Roses, an anticipated huge gathering of race-goers at Hastings will enjoy all kinds of activity at track level with a fleet of food trucks, musical entertainment and giveaways in a salute to the 130th anniversary of thoroughbred racing in British Columbia.
Historians have recorded that the first official race staged in Vancouver was held in 1889 down the middle of what would become Howe Street. A horse named Mayflower won the Vancouver City Stakes and first-place money of $250.
World-renowned performer Gillian Campbell, recently inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame, will sing Canada’s national anthem prior to the 1:50 p.m. start of Saturday’s eight-race card.
Following Race 4 the 2019 roster of Hastings jockeys will be introduced in the winner’s circle, a lineup that includes last year’s leading rider Amadeo Perez. A newcomer to the colony this year is Denny Velazquez, one of the leading riders at Turf Paradise when he headed west with 98 wins. He’ll be riding for Hastings 2018 leading owner Glen Todd, who describes Velazquez as “a well-rounded, well-liked young man with a positive attitude and a reputation of finishing strongly”.Among some of the familiar jockeys returning to the Hastings scene this year are Richard Hamel, Enrique Gonzalez, Antonio Reyes, Jeffery Burningham, Scott Williams, Jose Asencio and the popular identical twins, Lenny & Learie Seecharan.
The opening weekend Saturday and Sunday cards begin at the regular 1:50 p.m. start time and, as always, free admission.
For further information:
General Manager – Director, BC Racing
Greg Douglas Media Relations