Vancouver, B.C. (Feb. 6/15) – Over 100 horses were on the grounds for the opening of training Thursday at Hastings Racecourse. With the 2015 thoroughbred season set to open Saturday, April 25, long-time trainer John Morrison was the first to have a horse on the track shortly after 7:30 a.m.

“It’s an encouraging start,” said Darren MacDonald, General Manager at Hastings and recently appointed Director, B.C. Racing. “We expect to have between 250 and 300 horses on site by the end of the weekend.”

Manager of Racing Joe Gray was coordinating traffic on Day One of training and said that despite the wet weather, spirits on the backstretch were high among the horsemen.

That thought was shared by Lackey Condilenios, who operates The Horsemen’s Grill (previously called Trackers). It’s the most popular place on the track during early-morning training sessions.

“We open at 6 a.m. and we’ve had more traffic than last year at this time,” he says. Younger brother of trainer Dino Condilenios, Lackey runs the cafeteria with his wife Victoria and mother Nina. The backstretch at the break of dawn is a community within itself.


The 2015 BC Derby on September 13, 2015 will have something special to celebrate on the 70th anniversary of the crown jewel of stakes races at Hastings.

“The purse has been increased from $150,000 to $250,000,” MacDonald said. “That makes it the richest purse in the Pacific Northwest and we’re very proud and excited to make that statement.”

MacDonald acknowledged the co-operation that Hastings management has received from the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (BC Division), the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA) and the BC Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association (BCTOBA).

“We share a great working relationship,” MacDonald said. “Some of the initiatives and new programs we’ll be introducing this year are adding to the excitement we anticipate for the coming season.”

The Ship ‘n’ Win program offering $150,000 in total rewards for horses making their debut at Hastings Racecourse is referred to by MacDonald as “possibly the best in North America”.

Further information is available at www.hastingsracecourse.com, including the 2015 regular and stakes schedules.


For further information:

Darren MacDonald
General Manager, Hastings Racecourse
Director, BC Racing