Long-time Hastings Racecourse trainer Steve Henson has been a man on the move lately. He spent most of last week at Del Mar Racetrack on a scouting mission for the exciting new Hastings Racing Club. After keenly monitoring the Gallop Show and famous Barrett’s Sale over three days, Henson purchased a two-year-old colt by the name of Urban Achiever for $25,000 U.S.
“I looked at horses I thought I could buy within our budget and spent three days weeding them out,” Henson says. “The list was originally at 50, then 30 and finally it was whittled down what I considered the Top 10.”
Then he proudly adds: “The first horse I bid on, I got. It was Hip #4. I’ve always been partial to the number four since I was a youngster growing up and idolizing Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins.”
Henson, who’s been a trainer for 36 years and has started a horse in a race more than 2,300 times, jumped at the chance to become the designated trainer for the Hastings Racing Club. Officially introduced during the Victoria Day holiday card at Hastings on May 18, memberships in the Club (limited to 200) sell for $250 enabling racing fans to experience the thrill of owning a horse.
“When I got the call from the committee looking for a trainer willing to handle 200 owners, I didn’t hesitate to say yes,” Henson says. “Anything I can do to help, I’m in.”
The Hastings Racing Club committee includes representatives from the HBPA, BC TOBA, CTHS BC Division and Hastings Racecourse with the mandate of introducing new people to the racing industry.
Richard Yates, Secretary Treasurer of the HBPA, has taken on the responsibilities of managing the Hastings Racing Club. He explains that the purchase of Urban Achiever will be followed by Henson either claiming or buying privately a second horse in California or elsewhere within the next week or so.
“From the outset, the plan was to provide fans the opportunity to share in the ownership of two racehorses at Hastings,” Yates says. “The response has exceeded my expectations. We’re already close to having 100 members signed up with dozens more making inquiries and showing a sincere interest in getting involved.”