British Columbia’s racing and breeding community were out in force this week to celebrate the best of the 2023 Hastings’ racing season.

The event was again a near sell-out, with around 200 horsemen and women gathering at Vancouver’s popular Italian Cultural Centre.

There were no surprises in the Horse of the Year category, with the magnificent racemare INFINITE PATIENCE (Sungold – Montero, by Louis Quatorze) once again taking both BC-bred and Open Horse-of-the-Year crowns, as well as both BC-bred and Open divisions of the Older Filly/Mare category. It was the fourth time the now seven-year-old mare had been named Open Horse of the Year. The only time in her racing career she did not win the trophy was in 2020 when she only raced three times, all at Woodbine.

Bred by Bill DeCoursey who owns with NHL hockey star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and trained by Barbara Anderson-Heads, Infinite Patience added to her impressive totals in 2023 with four wins in five races including the $100,000 Ballerina Stakes and $100,000 Northlands Distaff at Century Mile in Alberta. Infinite Patience is a finalist for Champion Older Mare/Main Track for the April 18 Sovereign Awards, honouring champions in Canada.

In her career, Infinite Patience has won 19 of 25 races, 17 stakes and over $595,974.

Fans of the remarkable mare may also be delighted to hear that, according to her breeder and part-owner Bill DeCoursey, she is back in training at Hastings ahead of a 2024 campaign.

Another double winner on the night was AT ATTENTION, the year’s Champion Older Horse and BC-bred Older Horse, for Bryan and Carol Anderson. The son of Shanghai Bobby won the BC Cup Classic and was second in three stakes including the Grade 3 Premier’s Handicap.

As well as the horses, there were awards for leading owners, breeders, trainers, riders, and backstretch staff, as well as the induction to the B.C. Thoroughbred Hall of Fame of Ron and Rae Fawcett of Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds, owner Terry Sangara and racing writer, Randy Goulding.

The evening was hosted in typically smooth style by Hastings’ track announcer Dan Juckic and paddock analyst Mike Heads, with the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society once again on hand to raise money through the sale of 50-50 tickets, the auction of a limited-edition racing print of the legends John Henry and Bill Shoemaker, as well as a porcelain bowl depicting racing scenes.

Appropriately, there were standing ovations for the recipients of two special awards on the night. Trainer Patricia Jarvis received the prestigious Richard Yates Backstretch Award, while the HBPA Diamond Award, which is reserved for particularly deserving candidates in recognition of their invaluable commitment to the sport of horse racing in British Columbia and beyond, was presented to Darlene Smith.

The New Stride 50-50 prize capped quite an evening for Eugene Chan, whose table of fellow owners was still busy celebrating after their filly LIZZIE’S RAYNE was crowned two-year-old filly of the year when he realized he had the winning ticket!

Champion Older Male, Open Division: AT ATTENTION

Owner: Dr. Bryan C. and Carol Anderson

Trainer: Barbara Anderson-Heads

Breeder: Bryan Anderson & Carol Anderson

Champion Older Male, B.C. Bred Division: AT ATTENTION (Shanghai Bobby — Unattended by Quality Road)
Owner: Dr. Bryan C. and Carol Anderson

Trainer: Barbara Anderson-Heads

Breeder: Bryan Anderson & Carol Anderson

Champion Older Filly/Mare, B.C. Bred & Open Divisions:
INFINITE PATIENCE (Sungold — Montero by Louis Quatorze)
Owner: William DeCoursey and R. N. H. Stable

Trainer: Barbara Anderson-Heads

Breeder: William DeCoursey

Champion Sprinter:
WE B THREE (Teide — Lost Humor by Langfuhr)

Owner: Willow Creek Farms

Trainer: Steve Henson

Breeder: Ole A Nielsen

Champion Three-Year-Old Male, Open Division:
SUNBIRD (Orb — Marketway by After Market)

Owner: Pauline Felicella and Estate of Nick Felicella

Trainer: Terry Jordan

Breeder: Glen Todd

Champion Three-Year-Old Male, B.C. Bred Division:
LEGACY SQUARE (Lent — Architecture by Dixie Chatter)

Owner: Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds and James Redekop

Trainer: Edgar Mendoza

Breeder: Christine Ammann

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly B.C. Bred & Open Divisions:
AIR FORCE (Counterforce — Everythings a Blur by Joey Franco)

Owner: Dennis Dale, Morris Peter and Ed Welsh

Trainer: Keith Pedersen

Breeder: Paul Caravetta

Champion Two-Year-Old Male, B.C. Bred & Open Divisions:
AUGUST RAIN (Sungold — Bitatude by Super Saver)

Owner: Peter Redekop B. C., Ltd.

Trainer: Barbara Anderson-Heads

Breeder: Peter Redekop BC LTD

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, B.C. Bred & Open Divisions:
LIZZIE’S RAYNE (Lent — Queen’s Emblem by Mass Market)

Owner: Renfrew Racing, B and B Racing, Breen Racing, Eugene Chan and Dave Milburn

Trainer: Dave Milburn

Breeder: Suzanne I. Anderson

Upper Level Claimer of the Year (over $15,000):
BOLD ARCH (Archarcharch — Daylight Cat by Discreet Cat)

Owner: John and Kim Morrison and Robin Sadler

Trainer: John D. Morrison

Breeder: J. Barry Doud

Lower Level Claimer of the Year (under $15,000):
BELLAROO (Successful Appeal — Wild Image by Ready’s Image)

Owner: Jordan Froelich

Trainer: Dino K. Condilenios

Breeder: John T. L. Jones III

Equine Insurance Trophy for the Breeder of the Sadie Diamond Futurity winner
Winner: LIZZIE’S RAYNE, by Lent — Queen’s Emblem (Mass Market)

Breeder: Suzanne I. Anderson

Marsh and McLennan Trophy for the Breeder of the Jack Diamond Futurity Winner

Winner: Wealthy Texan, by Texas Wildcatter — Infinite Wealth (Stephanotis)

Breeder: Mel Snow & Fran Snow

Champion Juvenile Sire: SUNGOLD (A.P. Indy — Queen’s Word by Kingmambo)

Champion Sire: BAKKEN (Distorted Humor — General Jeanne by Honour and Glory)

Broodmare of the Year: QUEEN’S EMBLEM (Mass Market — Queen’s League by Winning Hit)

Leading Breeder: Ole A. Nielsen

Leading Jockey: Amadeo Perez

Leading Apprentice Jockey: Fraser Aebly

Leading Trainer: Barbara Anderson-Heads

Leading Owners: Rob Maybin and Sheena Maybin, Willow Creek Farms

Richard Yates Backstretch Award: Patricia Jarvis

Diamond Award of Excellence: Darlene Smith

Hall of Fame Inductees: Randy Goulding,
Terry Sangara, Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds

-with files from Nigel Reid