By Darren MacDonald
General Manager, Director of BC Racing
It seems like just yesterday we were dusting off the welcome mat with four $50,000 stakes of our own that coincided with the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4.
Now here we are celebrating the 74th edition of the BC Derby and 56th running of the BC Oaks on our richest and traditionally most exciting day of the year at Hastings Racecourse.
Thanks to the generosity of racing’s dedicated supporter Peter Redekop, today’s BC Derby purse has been increased to $250,000, matching the total of last month’s Canadian Derby in Edmonton.
Add to this afternoon’s guaranteed stakes purses of the BC Oaks ($100,000), S.W. Randall Plate ($50,000) and Delta Colleen ($50,000), and you can see why Derby/Oaks Day is the marquee event on the Hastings racing calendar.
Like every other thriving sports and entertainment project, it takes a total team effort from so many levels to maintain its level of success.
There is no question the continued support of our racing industry partners plays a huge role in the year-round planning and staging of some of the finest racing in the Pacific Northwest.
We cannot thank enough the input from the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA), B.C. Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association (BCTOBA) and the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society B.C. Division (CTHS).
That input goes deeper, of course. Hastings Racecourse is home to some of the most committed trainers, jockeys and backstretch workers in the sport.
And I would be remiss if I did not mention the vital role our management team plays in contributing to a day like today. Long before the first post parade and long after the lights go down following the final celebration in the winner’s circle, so many people are dutifully working from behind the scene.
It is our sincere hope that thoroughbred racing fans on hand this afternoon and those watching on the Hastings simulcast network enjoy today’s exciting 10-race card. The BC Derby and BC Oaks are the marquee races of our calendar year and we wish all the participants the very best of luck.