Vancouver, B.C. (July 29, 2014) – Ralph Bower spent 40 years of his professional life with the Vancouver Sun keenly watching the world pass by through the lens of a camera. During his illustrious career he won several national newspaper awards, many of which zoomed in on his passion for horse racing.
Ralph’s nickname is ‘Railbird’. He is the original. Many racing photographers and writers have adopted the handle but it will forever be attached to Ralph Bower, born and raised in North Vancouver.
In support of the Hastings Jockeys Benefit Fund, Bower has graciously offered more than 150 of his original horse racing photos to be on display beginning Monday, August 4 – BC Cup Day at Hastings Racecourse.
The Ralph Bower Horse Racing Photo Gallery has been months in the making. The unveiling takes place at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4 in the original Casino Room at Hastings, easily accessible from the tarmac area just steps away from the winner’s circle and open to the public, free of charge.
Prints of each exclusive and exquisite Bower photos will be available to the public with entire proceeds going to the Hastings Jockeys Benefit Fund. An 11” x 14” coloured or black and white print will go for $20; an 8” x 10” coloured or black and white print will sell for $15.
Local racing patrons will not believe what they are about to see. Over the years, Bower has captured world-renowned jockeys Willie Shoemaker, Johnny Longden, Chris McCarron, Sandy Hawley and Bill Hartack during Vancouver visits. There is one shot of Laffit Pincay, Jr., Longden and Shoemaker – all together and autographed.
Hollywood stars Mickey Rooney, Jack Klugman, Tim Conway and John Candy have all been caught through Bower’s lenses during their various movie shoots at Hastings.
Local trainers, jockeys and horses are a big part of the Bower collection. Don Morrison, Sonny O’Connell, Terry Marshall, Harold and Frank Barroby they are all part of Bower’s legendary trainers’ collection of unforgettable photos. Hastings jockeys caught on camera in historic moments include Chris Loseth, Mario Gutierrez, Ken Skinner, Mickey Walls, Sam Krasner and Nicola Wright, the only female rider to capture the BC Derby (2002). Bower has also captured stunning and memorable moments of racing champions Travelling Victor, Prince Scorpian, Delta Colleen and the greatest of them all, George Royal.
“For Mr. Bower to offer his collection to racing fans with all proceeds going to the Jockeys Benefit Fund is a wonderful gesture,” says Fund manager Jeannie Spence. “The people who will benefit from this are the backstretch workers in need and seniors who have left the track but are struggling to survive in today’s environment.”
General Manager Darren MacDonald at Hastings Racecourse has offered weekly prizes to racing fans supporting the cause. “We’ll have some attractive packages for our customers who contribute to the success of this venture,” MacDonald says. “I know that – without a doubt – people are going to love what they see in the Ralph Bower Racing Photo Gallery. Everyone is welcome to drop by during race days and enjoy something they will never forget.”
Where: Hastings Racecourse – PNE Gate 6 or 9
When: Monday, August 4th – 12 pm
What: Official opening of the Ralph Bower Horse Racing Gallery