By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Just when you might have thought things couldn’t get any better for Phil Hall last weekend, guess what? They did.
Hastings’ leading trainer was here, there and everywhere over a three-day run that included a $50,000 stakes win at Northlands Park in Edmonton Saturday, back-to-back stakes wins at Hastings Racecourse Sunday and joining in a beer-spraying celebration Monday at the annual Hastings/Emerald Downs Ryder Cup golf showdown in Lynden, Washington.
While his round at Homestead Golf & Country Club across the U.S. border may not have been as profitable as the preceding two days at racetracks, it had to be just as much fun. Hall contributed in no small way to Team Hastings’ crushing victory over arch-rival Team Emerald Downs in a spirited competition that’s been ongoing for 15 years.
Phil played a leading role in the final point standings with two closest-to-the-pin shots.
But back to the more serious business of winning races, something Phil has been doing with increasing regularity in recent years.
He won his first Leading Trainer award in 2017 and appears determined to make it two in a row with 20 trips to the winner’s circle at the halfway mark of the 2018 schedule. Heading into this weekend Hall was in front of Glen Todd by three and keeping an eye on a charging Mike Anderson with 14.
The day before sweeping Sunday’s stakes features at Hastings – the Lt. Governors’ and Spaghetti Mouse – Hall was in Edmonton performing his magic with owner Peter Redekop’s Apalachee Bay in the $50,000 Count Latham for 3-year-olds. Apalachee Bay led from the early going and won by five lengths going 1 1/16 miles.
Hall was back at his home track Sunday for Summerland’s stunning 7 ¼ length win in the Spaghetti Mouse for 2-year-olds and a $13 win by veteran Calgary Caper in the Lt. Governors’ going 1 1/16 miles.
In his title-winning 2017 season Hall won seven stakes and is already on his way to improving on that number with four as we swing into the heavy portion of the stakes schedule during August and September.