Six of the 14 races run at Hastings on Monday and Tuesday went the way of BC-breds, with significant victories for some of our Province’s leading owner/breeders.
However, the appetizer to the first forays into this “New Normal” racing era came on Hastings-eve (Sunday) when INFINITE PATIENCE made her seasonal bow in a Stakes contest at Woodbine.
With so few suitable options now available to the daughter of SUNGOLD, it made sense for connections to cast an eye further afield on behalf of their all-conquering Horse of the Year. And the sophomore didn’t let anyone down, staying on resolutely to finish third in the $125,000 Fury Stakes.
Running a little keen early under Emma-Jayne Wilson, last year’s unbeaten juvenile, who was putting a five-from-five record on the line, proved eminently worthy of her place in the field, finishing just over a length behind the winner (and last season’s top Woodbine two-year-old) Curlin’s Voyage.
Still part-owned (with hockey star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) by her breeder Bill Decoursey, INFINITE PATIENCE was the first of some notable homebred performers this past week.
Indeed, the Heads’ team responsible for producing Infinite Patience in such splendid form for her seasonal bow enjoyed more success with progeny of Sungold when R. J. and Lois Bennett’s homebred SYNERGY, winner of last season’s Jack Diamond Stakes, showed he has progressed the right way during the lay-off.
Quickening smartly through the home turn under luckless Antonio Reyes (a fall later in the day put him out of action for the foreseeable future with a wrist injury), Synergy got the jump on the patiently ridden CAPILANO CANYON and held off last season’s Ascot Graduation winner by a nose.
The first two home have been trading blows throughout their young careers and, while this was very much round 1 to Synergy, it will be a fascinating rematch when next they meet.
ZEN BABY (Texas Wildcatter) was the second Glen Todd homebred winner of the opening two days to be bred by Todd in Kentucky, after his FORT LANGLEY (Majestic Warrior) prevailed on the opening day. The homebred double was two-thirds of a three-timer for Todd’s quick-starting stable.
Swift Thoroughbred’s striking homebred MOLESLEY (Pop Artist) took the opener on Monday for the Dino Condilenios barn, while the same afternoon White House Stables’ homebred SUZY MASCARA (Second In Command) broke her maiden tag for trainer “Twink” Baumgartner in a manner that suggests the four-year-old may not have finished improving.
HASTINGS RACING CLUB
The Hastings Racing Club II could not have dreamed of a better or more exciting start to their 2020 campaign, and the absence of the enthusiastic owner’s group from the racetrack highlighted perfectly what we are all having to endure while we await a solution to Covid 19.
WARRIOR’S PROMISE (Warrior’s Reward) looked to have zero chance approaching the home turn. However, when rider Enrique Gonzales selected “sports drive” the four-year-old filly surged through the field to grab the leaders close home and prevail by a neck. What a thrill for the hundreds of members who were presumably shouting at their digital devices – what a Zoom party that would have made!
PLENTY OF VARIETY
Unusually, the winners of the 14 races held at Hastings on Monday and Tuesday afternoon were won by the progeny of 14 different sires with local stallions POP ARTIST, STORM VICTORY, SECOND IN COMMAND, SUNGOLD, TEXAS WILDCATTER, FINALITY and CAUSE TO BELIEVE all notching winners.
Glen Todd’s three-winner salvo was matched by trainer Steve Henson, whose three winners (TIZ MEOW (Courageous Cat), JAY LOST CONTROL (Mineshaft) and FRANKIE MACHINE (Wilburn) were supplemented by three third-place finishers from just eight runners.
With reigning champion trainer Phil Hall plying his trade at Woodbine this year, the trainer’s title race will be a fascinating affair and both Todd and Henson will be delighted to get off to such rapid starts.
While the nature of Hastings’ business model significantly penalizes racing behind closed doors, full, competitive fields provided terrific action for the online betting public. As a result, the combined wagering handle saw a gross increase compared to the same two days last year.
The two-day aggregate total handle for Monday and Tuesday was $1.3 million, while the figure for the same two days last year (run on a Saturday and Sunday) was $1.08 million.