STEVIE’S SONG surged clear in race 1 at Hastings Racecourse May 3 to become the first Thoroughbred winner in Canada of 2021. The 5-year-old BC-bred mare by Storm Victory was odds-on in her first race since Oct. 1 for MJD Stables and trainer Demetris Topouzis and kicked off a seven-race card for the first Thoroughbred track to begin its season this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to rage on a year (plus) after horse racing was halted worldwide for several months and once again, racing has been negatively affected in 2021. While Assiniboia Downs is expected to begin its meet May 7 and Century Mile soon after, Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, ON remains on hold with no date for start-up in sight.

And Canadian horse racing fans greeted Hastings racing with enthusiasm, betting over $891,000 on the evening, up 77% from opening day one year ago.

The Hastings season, however, is on delicate footing as it did not receive any government funding and currently has purse money for just half of its 50-day meeting. There are just four stakes races carded for the year at the moment.

Jockey ANTONIO REYES won two races on opening night aboard Swift Thoroughbreds’ impressive maiden winner BLUEPRINT, a BC-bred son of Pop Artist (Songandaprayer), trained by Dino Condilenios and BE QUICK (Bodemeister), who won the featured allowance race for White Hall Farm and trainer Keith Pederson.

Full brother and sister BOUNDARY BAY and FLYING NEMO won back-to-back races on the card. Both are by Harbor the Gold from Flying Memo by Memo (CHI). The former is owned by Willow Creek Farm and trained by Steve Henson while Flying Nemo is owned and trained by Glen Todd of North American Thoroughbred Horse Company.

Racing continues at Hastings May 10 at 5 p.m.