Vancouver, B.C. (June 4/17) — Horse owner George Morgan, a retired commercial pilot, was flying high again at Hastings Racecourse Sunday afternoon but this time he left the controls in the capable hands of trainer Mike Anderson and jockey Jeffery Burningham.


It was a smooth landing as Morgan’s six-year-old gelding Venetian Mask won the $50,000 John Longden 6000 in a final time of 1:44.23 over 1 1/16 miles against 11 other starters.


“We came within a neck of winning the BC Premier’s with Venetian Mask last year,” Morgan beamed after capturing his first-ever stakes race Sunday.  “I was told these things take awhile and right now I couldn’t be happier.”


Burningham was aboard Venetian Mask in the Premier’s when they lost by such a narrow margin to Killin Me Smalls in 2016 and was Morgan’s choice again this year, finishing second in the Swift Thoroughbreds Inaugural and third in the George Royal, both at 6 ½ furlongs.


“Jeff’s a great guy and great competitor,” Morgan says.  “And of course we’re in the best of hands with Mike (Anderson).” Venetian Mask paid $17.60, $6.70 and $4.30 when he collared favourite Modern in mid-stretch to win by two lengths.


Morgan said he doesn’t have any immediate plans for Venetian Mask.  “I’ll go out and see him at the farm tomorrow and congratulate him one more time,” he laughed.  “For now, it’s just time for him to take a little rest.”


Live racing resumes at Hastings Racecourse Saturday and Sunday with start times at 1:50 p.m.  Saturday’s card will include simulcast coverage of the third leg of the Triple Crown – the Belmont Stakes – at 3:37 p.m. Vancouver time.


For more information:

Darren MacDonald –