The 2021 live meet at Hastings Racecourse begins Monday, May 3rd, but how long it can run under the current circumstances is the big question. Fifty days are scheduled, with a target final day of October 25th, but there is not enough purse money to carry the meet that long.
Glen Todd, an owner, breeder and trainer and thoroughbred representative on the British Columbia Horse Racing Industry Management Committee, said in an interview with Canadian Thoroughbred, “We’ve got enough funding at the moment to run at least twenty-five days. So we are going to get off to a good start.” Hastings is the only race track in Canada that is currently operating; the first race goes off at 5:00 pm.
This year, the BC track will be running races on the weekday as opposed to a weekend card. Todd explained the reasoning for this move in The Derby Bar & Grill:
“Many people have asked why Mondays and Tuesdays and why 5:00 pm. Those days were chosen as our only source of revenue currently is HPIbet and only one Teletheatre open which is the Derby Bar and Grill.
“Our sources of income before the Covid-19 hit us was Hastings and Fraser Downs Casinos which were our largest source of income. As we all know its going to be a while before we see a reopening of the Casinos in BC. Also there are 16 OTB’s sites (Off Track Betting) of which only one is open, hopefully in the near future we will see a return of those facilities opening which is also a large source of our income.
“The associations carefully searched the racing schedules across North America and Mondays and Tuesdays at 5:00pm currently has the least amount of competition for the wagering dollar. All seven races on today’s card are being carried by TVG, America’s largest live TV racing network. This the first time TVG is carrying all of our races and that alone should increase our handle. Of course those with Bell Satellite TV can pick up all of the today’s program and HPIbet who also handles all of our wagering in Canada as well as a live feed.
“The Horsemen’s Associations and Hastings Racecourse have worked together to increase our on site production and we are have much improved signal for 2021 as we are now all digital – something that has been needed for years.”