Vancouver, B.C. (Aug. 23/19) — If ever there was a perfect advertisement for the 2019 CTHS Yearling & Mixed Sale next month in Langley, it was in full view Friday night at Hastings Racecourse.

When the tears and cheers subsided, a couple of CTHS Sales grads were surprise winners of the $50,000 stakes featured under the lights before a crowd that grew as the night wore on with PNE Fair patrons dropping by to see for themselves what all the commotion was about at the neighbouring racetrack.

The noise hit a crescendo when 13-1 longshot Butterscotch Blend broke her maiden winning the CTHS fillies division by two-and-a-half lengths over 4-5 betting favourite Northern Graystar.

Butterscotch Blend was purchased for $20,000 at the 2017 CTHS Sale and had been winless in five starts, a good enough reason for part-owner Lana Brindley to tear up in the winner’s circle celebration. “I can’t thank Rob and Vicky Gilker enough for taking care of our Butterscotch,” Brindley said on behalf of co-owner Joy Cameron, who also share ownership with the Gilker training twosome.

Emotions ran even deeper when winning rider Jose Ascencio was embraced during a sudden visit from his dad Gabriel, a retired jockey who now exercises horses at Hastings.  The father-son combination previously rode on the same cards until Jose suffered career threatening injuries as a 20-year-old in 2017. Gabriel sat at Jose’s  VGH bedside day and night during his recovery period.

Butterscotch Blend paid $29.10, $7.80, $4.50, finishing the mile and sixteenth journey in a final time of 1:45.75.

Slew’s Da Boss made it back-to-back $50,000 stakes upsets in the CTHS colts and geldings division when odds-on favourite Weekend Wizard (1-5) ran out of magic and finished fifth in the six-horse field.  Trained and co-owned by popular Mel Snow, Slew’s Da Boss closed with a rush to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths under a masterful ride by Antonio Reyes.

“This horse is as honest as they come,” Snow said of the $6,500 CTHS Sales purchase in 2016.  “He can run short, run long … whatever your throw at him.”

Slew’s Da Boss scored a final time of 1:44.57 over a mile and sixteenth, paying $11.10, $5.00, $3.20.

It was victory number 35 of the season for Reyes, who is tied with Richard Hamel after Hamel won the last three races on Friday’s card.  Enrique Gonzalez, skunked on Friday, maintains the lead with 36 wins.

As hard as they compete at track level, several of the Hastings jockey colony will be rubbing friendly shoulders next Thursday (Aug. 29 at 5:00 p.m.) in support of the Disabled Riders’ Fund at the Lougheed Village Bar and Grill.  Open to the public and under the direction of Jeannie Spence and Lisa Russell, a $25 cover charge includes a burger and beverage, raffle, 50-50 draw and toonie toss,

Live racing resumes Monday at 6 p.m at Hastings with free parking to complement free admission.


By Nigel Reid

Mel Snow enjoys a Friday night feast with Boss and Driller

Everyone involved in this glorious sport of ours knows how costly it can be, so those few bargains that, each year, we see progress from inexpensive sales ring acquisition to valuable CTHS Stakes race winner are a welcome encouragement to the rest of us.


The Mel Snow-trained Slew’s Da Boss is the perfect example. The son of Cause to Believe cost his trainer just $6,500 as a CTHS yearling and, since then, has hit the board ten times from 15 races, earning his owners, Snow, Doug Corsan and Len Houweling, more than $80,000 in the process.

The four-year-old’s win in the boy’s division of the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes Race also proved something of a catharsis, or at least for trainer and owners, as the horse stumbled exiting the gate on his previous appearance, ejecting his hapless rider Alex Marti into the Hastings’ dirt in the process.

Sadly, Marti is still on the injured list after undergoing surgery to have a plate inserted into a broken collarbone, and he must have watched the race with somewhat mixed feelings.

However, the horse clearly suffered no ill effects from the previous mishap and looked in tremendous shape on Friday, scooting up the rail from a stalking position under Antonio Reyes to quickly put daylight between himself and the long time leader, European.

The heavy favourite for the CTHS Restricted Stakes contest was last season’s BC Derby runner-up, Weekend Wizard. Mysteriously, despite moving into a threatening position on the home turn, the son of Rosberg quickly weakened and beat just one home.


Slew’s Da Boss capped an evening to remember for Mel Snow (although it’s probably fair to say that he’s had quite a few of those down the years), after the evergreen Driller got off the mark for the season by taking the $20,000, six-and-a-half furlong, allowance contest under the impressive guidance of Amadeo Perez.

The five-year-old son of Texas Wildcatter, who was bred by Snow and is also part owned by the trainer with Don Danard, has now won six of his 26 races and helped pay plenty of expenses with more than $180,000 in prize money.


The fillies’ division of the $50,000 CTHS Stakes also provided a mild shock for bettors at least, when the Rob Gilker trained Butterscotch Blend turned over the short-priced favourite Northern Graystar by two-and-a-half lengths, winning a big purse and breaking her maiden at the same time.

Butterscotch Blend, a $20,000 purchase at the 2017 CTHS Yearling and Mixed Sale, may have been sent off as an outsider by the betting public but, despite being a maiden, was no longshot in terms of ability.

Once raced as a two-year-old, the daughter of Mission Impazible has been an improving sort during her sophomore campaign, and she gave a serious hint of real talent on her previous run, when splitting Cha Ching and Warrior’s Promise in what looked like a better-than-average Maiden Special Weight.

Sent in hot pursuit of the leader Northern Graystar by rider Jose Asencio as the six-strong field turned for home, the pair quickly caught their prey before inching clear along the home straight, finally turning back the odds-on shot to win by an impressive two-and-a-half lengths.

The two major races of the evening may have eluded jockey Richard Hamel, but he certainly made amends by taking the final three contests of the seven-race card.


The hat-trick began when Hamel got Bad Girl up in the final strides to take a six-and-a-half furlong $4,000 maiden claiming event for trainer Steve Henson and owner Mark Ivy.


The second win was an even narrower affair. Hamel, aboard the Steve Bryant-trained Pioneerof of the West in the first leg of the season’s three-race marathon series, stalked the field in a handy spot before protecting a small lead most of the way up the straight to hold off the late rally of Sanawar by a head. The photo finish call is almost always unnecessary where Hamel’s concerned. He seems, instinctively, to know where the wire is and, more often than not, he invariably prevails.


The three-timer was secured with less drama, but no little skill, as the veteran led his rivals a merry dance aboard the Mark Cloutier-trained Little Groot in the nightcap, an $8,000 maiden claimer.

Owned by Marty Miller, Little Groot led virtually every yard of the six-and-a-half furlong contest, with Hamel traveling easily enough throughout, merely rousting his mount at the turn before drawing clear of Denny Velazquez and Reprimand to win by three-and-a-half lengths.


The only easier winner of the evening came in the opener, a $4,000 “never won two” claimer over six-and-a-half furlongs, which had rider Romario Saunders peering between his legs in search of challengers to his mount, Arranger. There were none, however, and the pair sauntered to a four-and-a-half length, gate-to-wire victory for trainer Nancy Betts and owner Richard Hunter.

A fairly healthy crowd of racegoers enjoyed the first Friday night of the annual PNE fair, helping to generate an on-track betting turnover of more than $93,000 – down marginally when compared to the same night 12 months ago.

Meanwhile, the gross handle of $450,000, bolstered by seven competitive contests that included two $50,000 Stakes races and a $20,000 allowance event, continued this year’s trend of being noticeably up on last year.

Emerald Downs Wrap-Friday, August 23

Wine At Nine and Javier Matias


AUBURN, Wash. (August 23, 2019) – Wine At Nine shook off a pesky Calex and drew clear for a 5 ¼-length victory Friday in the $13,600 Muckleshoot Casino Purse for 3-year-olds and up.

Under regular rider Javier Matias, Wine At Nine ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.16 and paid $5, $3.40 and $2.20. Vince Gibson is the trainer for Two Putts for the Win #19.

With the victory, Wine At Nine tied Bob Stories and Market Master for fifth place on the track’s all-time wins list at 16 wins apiece. A 7-year-old Divine Park gelding, Wine At Nine is four wins shy of the track record 21 wins shared by Mike Man’s Gold and West Seattle Boy.

Among active horses, only West Seattle Boy has more wins than Wine At Nine.

Voted the meet’s Top Claimer of 2017, Wine At Nine got off to a relatively slow start this year, dropping his first three decisions, but is now 3-1-0 in his last four starts including two route victories and one sprint. Friday, he set set fractions of :22.80, :46.65, 1:10.70 and 1:36.42, shaking off Calex past midstretch and cruising to the line.

Including a maiden win in California, Wine At Nine is 17-6-5 in 44 starts with earnings of $126,510.
Calex, ridden by Juan Gutierrez, offered a stern challenge into the lane, but settled for second and paid $6.80 and $4. A 7-year-old Harlington gelding, Calex has 17 career victories including 10 wins at Emerald Downs.

City Steel, ridden by Kevin Krigger, rallied belatedly to finish third and paid $3, while Rough and Ready, Buckley Bay and Guardingthemoney completed the order of finish.

It was a big night for Dean Mazzuca’s Two Putts for the Win, as Brahms Forest ($6) became the meet’s fifth four-time winner, scoring narrowly over My Chief in a $3,500 starter allowance for 3-year-olds and ups. Also ridden by Matias and trained by Frank Lucarelli, Brahms Forest joined Das Bear, General Mach Four, He’s Not Grey and Rosso’s Gatto in the four-win club.

Matias, who rode both stakes winners last Sunday, has ridden multiple winners four of the last five days and is third overall with 44 wins.

NOTES: Wine At Nine notched his maiden victory October 23, 2014 at Golden Gate Fields under Russell Baze, and scored his first Emerald Downs win April 19, 2015 with Leslie Mawing riding. . . Adelina ($6.80) debuted with a come from behind victory in Friday’s second race for 2-year-old fillies, and was claimed for $25,000 by Greg Conley, Chuck Conley and Terra Firma Farm. A Kentucky-bred by Union RagsHa Ha Tonka, Adelina is the younger sister of 3-year-old filly She’sonthewarpath, a recent $100,000 stakes winner at Indiana Grand Race Course. . .Frank  Lucarelli needs 10 wins in the final 14 days to break the single-season training record of 66 wins. . .Kevin Krigger blanked Friday and remains two wins away from 1,000 for his career. . .Trainer Jose Navarro saddled the exacta in the Friday opener with Bernie ($7.20) edging Doctor Bruce S. in the final strides for the victory. . .Live racing continues Saturday with first post 5 p.m.


Mario Gutierrez
August 24 – Del Mar

Push Through Wgt-122 Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming $20,000
Bold Endeavor Wgt-120 Race 4 Maiden Claiming $50,000
Indypendent Deputy Wgt-119 Race 5 Claiming $25,000
Dipping In Wgt-120 Race 7 Maiden Special Weight
Cool Bobby Wgt-122 Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming $40,000
August 25 – Del Mar

Emtech Wgt-118 Race 1 Starter Allowance $50,000
Conformation Wgt-123 Race 2 Claiming $16,000
Eskimo Roses Wgt-122 Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming $40,000
August 28 – Del Mar

Juggles Wgt-120 Race 1 Claiming $32,000
Hardboot Wgt-124 Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming $40,000
Coilette Wgt-118 Race 5 Starter Allowance $50,000
Vegan Wgt-120 Race 7 Generous Portion S.

August 23 – Del Mar
Etching Scratched (Veterinarian) Race 2 Chart
Fool’s Paradise finished 2nd beaten 1 3/4 lengths Race 4 Chart



(L-R): Scott Heider and Tony Lacy at The Saratoga Sale

Heider Reaps Rewards of Winning Team

About 18 months ago, owner/breeder Scott Heider turned to Brad Weisbord of BSW Bloodstock to negotiate private sales that boosted the caliber of horses in training under his Heider Family Stables banner and Heider expanded his team.

Lady Suebee Cruises in Tranquility Lake Stakes

Lady Suebee © Benoit Photo

Lady Suebee stepped to the lead leaving the gate under jockey Victor Espinoza and cruised home an easy winner in the featured $87,600 Tranquility Lake Stakes Friday at Del Mar.

Providing owners Kosta and Pete Hronis with their fifth added money success of the summer and trainer John Sadler with his seventh win in a stakes this season, Lady Suebee left no doubt as to her superiority as she scored by five and one-half lengths.

Kaydetre came on to be runner-up, three and three-quarter lengths in front of Zusha, with Yuvetsi another nose back in fourth. Fifth and last in a disappointing performance was the 7-5 favorite, Vibrance. Scratched from the one mile contest for older fillies and mares was Just a Smidge.

Lady Suebee, a four-year-old daughter of First Defence bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, raced the distance in 1:37.42 and, as a strongly supported 2-1 second choice, paid $6.40, $3.60 and $2.80. Stakes-placed several times in her career, the Tranquility Lake marked her first stakes victory and her fourth triumph in 16 outings.  First money of $52,560 increased her earnings to $298,851.

Runner-up Kaydetre, a 3-1 shot under Brice Blanc, paid $3.80 and $3, while Zusha returned $3.60.

There were two perfect tickets in Friday’s Pick Six and each paid $77,066. The carryover from Thursday was $44,842 and $204,578 was bet into the pool Friday, producing a total Pick Six pool of $249,420.

Racing resumes Saturday with the first of ten races scheduled for 2 p.m.


Skip Dickstein

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Hastings Daily Results and Activity


Friday, August 23
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $4,000 $11,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Allowance Optional Claiming – $50,000 $26,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight
Race 3 CTHS Sales S. $50,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight
Race 4 CTHS Sales S. $50,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $4,000 $11,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Starter Optional Claiming – $6,250 $15,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Maiden Claiming – $8,000 $12,000 Overnight Overnight Overnight