By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: When Friday Night Live racing was introduced at Hastings Racecourse several years ago the philosophy was quite simple: (a) to give a new and younger demographic the opportunity to enjoy live thoroughbred racing as a form of night-time entertainment heading into the weekend and (b) to provide the business community an evening venue to host clients and staff.
“It has become quite a social event,” says Frankie LaChimea, manager of group sales & corporate partnerships. “We have various private gatherings going at the same time in the Marquee Tent, Skybox, Sol VIP lounge, the Molson Canadian Trackside area and patio locations. The atmosphere is casual but unique in the sense people often dress in racetrack attire wearing fascinators or fedoras like we see each year at the Deighton Cup.”
Tonight’s Friday Night Live program is the first of six scheduled for this racing season. The others are on each Friday in August (4, 11, 18, 25) and Sept. 1. A seventh date under the lights is scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Having a sales and marketing background in the BC Hockey League with the Coquitlam Express, LaChimea subscribes to the theory there is always room for everyone and nobody leaves disappointed.
Born to Italian parents who met in Vancouver, Frankie was raised with a brother and sister in Ladner. He graduated from Delta High as a budding hockey and football prospect but at the age of 18, after suffering a series of concussions, he was advised by his doctor to refrain from competitive sports and perhaps get into coaching.
“I was a summer hockey school instructor for six years,” LaChimea says. “Once I got a taste of marketing and sales with the Express, I knew that was the profession I wanted to pursue.”
Recruited by then marketing manager at Hastings Spiro Khouri, who is now with Elements Casino, LaChimea is in his second year with the racetrack and loving every minute of it.
“There’s never a dull moment and always new challenges,” he says.
“Friday Night Live is one of them. It’s the perfect avenue to introduce new fans to racing.”
Frankie stands ready to accommodate future bookings at firstname.lastname@example.org