(with files from Nigel Reid, Derby Bar & Grill)

The racing schedule at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver changed a bit last week as Thursday racing and Sunday racing replaced the Monday and Tuesday cards that began the year.

Like all tracks in Canada, finding the sweet spot on the weekly calendar is crucial to maximize wagering handle since spectators, fans etc. are not allowed on-track and may not be this year.

August 2, the first Sunday card of 2020 at Hastings featured the Monashee Stakes for fillies and mares and marked the return of Canada’s Champion Older Mare of 2019, HERE’S HANNAH, now a 5-year-old. A winner of 12 of 14 starts including 5 stakes last year in her championship season, the daughter of Numaany, owned and bred by B C Stables was sprinting in this year’s Monashee; last year the event was a route race.

A slow pace in the race played into the power of UNDER PAR, however, and the 5-year-old owned by Canmore Farm and Maureen Goss fought her way to a 3/4 length win in 1:16 4/5 for an 83 Beyer Speed Figure. Here’s Hannah was a closing second.

Bred in BC by Glen Todd and trained by Mark Cloutier, the five-year-old Under Par (Stephanotis – Big Bertha (GER) by Tertullian)  continues to demonstrate remarkable consistency and now has a record of 10 wins, four seconds and a third-place finish from 16 starts. What a servant she is to the Mark Cloutier barn and owners, Canmor Farms and Maureen Goss.

Under Par was the middle leg of a three-timer for rider Amadeo Perez, who also teamed up with ACE DEUCE (Lewis Michael) in the nightcap for trainer Barb Heads and, earlier in the afternoon, aboard the upwardly mobile PORTER GENT (Second in Command).

Porter Gent stepped up again on a promising maiden win on his seasonal debut to take an allowance event that, on paper at least, looked hot enough to be a Stakes contest in all but name.

Taking on some of the best juveniles seen last season, the Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds homebred continued the impressive early-season form of trainer Christine Ammann, landing the spoils ahead of fellow BC-breds, CASCADE BILLY (Bakken) and BAKTURA (Bakken).

Racing on the most appropriate days is, of course, essential, but getting the message out to the betting public is equally vital and it has been disappointing to see how little promotional support racing in BC is currently receiving for the new dates from the digital platforms belonging to Hastings Racecourse and Great Canadian Gaming.

At the time of writing [August 3], there was no information at all on the Hastings website to announce the date changes, while the track’s Twitter feed was last used back in May. The Great Canadian Twitter feed and website are equally lacking in updates.

Sunday, Aug. 9 and the featured event was the BC Cup Hong Kong Jockey Club $50,000-added Black Type Stakes for three-year-old fillies.

The field of 5 (Fully Lent was a late scratch at the gate) included Russell and Lois Bennett’s outstanding homebred stake winning Sangria; Michal Jilek, Craig Winnick and Canyon Farms’ fine filly Floral, coming off her recent success in the 2020 Supernaturel Stake; Canmor Farms’ Walkinthewalk; North American Thoroughbred Horse Company Inc.’s stakes placed Miss Prospector, and finally Mark DeDomenico LLC and NATHC’s lightly raced Princess of Cairo.

In the end, the contentious assembly (on paper at least) was easily bested by the Glen Todd trained three-year-old great looking filly Miss Prospector (5.50, 3.70, 2.70).

Scotty Williams in the saddle took advantage of a good break and sent the filly right off to a clear lead, although after a somewhat quick first fraction of 23.55. Unfortunately, the next quarter brought Williams no relief, as Miss Prospector stepped the clock in a very quick 46.84 at the half, while maintaining a lead of 2 ½ lengths. With the ¾’s coming up in a fast 1:12.05, the riders on the chasing trio of Walkinthewalk, Sangria and Floral all began to ask in earnest and started ever so slightly to cut into Miss Prospector’s lead. Just when it looked like they could perhaps catch the leading filly, rider Williams saw them coming and asked for more, a lot more. Miss Prospector exploded away from her challengers and left no doubt about who was going to the winner’s circle. Although Williams perhaps paid for his early move in the last 1/16th (7.66), Miss Prospector had enough left to achieve victory 3 ¼ lengths clear of runner up Walkinthewalk. Princess of Cairo, who clearly would have been much closer had she not stumbled badly after clipping heels, got up for the show 1 ¾ lengths in front of Sangria.

The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was a very quick 1:45.99.

Miss Prospector is by Harbor the Gold out of Clever Bird by Awesome Again and was bred by Bret Christopherson in Washington.

The winning groom Jenn Reichling had her star filly looking absolutely fabulous today.

The victory put Glen Todd into a tie for leading trainer honours with Christine Ammann and kept North American Thoroughbred Horse Company, Inc. at the top of the leading owner board.

For the full Sunday recap at Hastings Racecourse and for more news, you can check out Derby Bar and Grill.



DEUCES ARE WILD is bossing around the older horse sprint class at Century Mile right now – photo courtesy Alberta Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders

Deuces Are Wild (Midshipman – Newport Harbor by Full Mandate) stepped up into stakes competition in the Spangled Jimmy Handicap August 8 and dominated the field racing for a purse of $40,000 from gate to wire. The 4-year-old gelding bred by Frank Bodell, owned by Frank and Terri Bodell, trained by Dave Nicholson,  is now 3 for 3 since a layoff of over one year. He stopped the teletimer in 1:22.40 for the 7 furlongs and was ridden by Rey Williams. His groom is Ashley Gilkyson.