By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: There are so many intriguing storylines behind tomorrow’s 74th running of the BC Derby it’s a challenge to know where to begin.
Let’s start with Peter Redekop, the BC Racing Hall of Famer (Class of 2013), who’s been a major part of the local thoroughbred scene for more than five decades.
This past spring Mr. Redekop made an unexpected announcement that he would be increasing the guaranteed purse of the Grade 3 BC Derby from $150,000 to $250,000 by simply saying: “We’ve got to get more people in the racing industry to notice us.”
Mind you, the respected owner/breeder has good reason to have a soft spot for the BC Derby, considering he remains the only owner to have captured the prestigious race on four occasions, including three in a row during an outstanding run from 2012 (Second City) to 2013 (Title Contender) to 2014 (Alert Bay). His first Derby win was with Squire Jones in 1994.
Team Redekop, a crew that includes Peter’s nephew James Redekop, racing manager Dr. Bryan Anderson and Hastings leading trainer Phil Hall, will be gunning for a fifth BC Derby win tomorrow with Final Jeopardy, listed among the top three morning favourites at 3-1.
Ole Nielsen’s Canadian Derby winner Explode is at 2-1 while Glen Todd’s Five Star General is at 5-2 in an impressive field of nine starters.
Final Jeopardy was the 6-5 Canadian Derby favourite at Century Mile in Edmonton but settled for third as Explode and Journeyman finished in what was described as “a bumper-car stretch drive”. Journeyman, who won’t be running here tomorrow, crossed the wire on top by a neck but the Chicago invader was disqualified by the stewards for interference.
Mario Gutierrez makes his second visit of the year to Hastings tonight and tomorrow, riding Five Star General in the Derby, winner of the BC Cup Sir Winston Churchill with Mario in the irons on August 5.
A reminder that BC Derby/Oaks Day 10-race card begins an hour earlier than usual with a 12:50 p.m. start. The BC Derby goes as the eighth race at 4:35 p.m.