SATURDAY HASTINGS DERBY DAY PREVIEW
The most exciting day in the thoroughbred racing season is upon us this afternoon as Hastings will host a brilliant nine race program headed by the Grade III $150,000 B.C. Derby. The day will see the best horses horses in the Pacific Northwest and Alberta battle for $550,000 in six different stakes races. The Sea-to-Sky Pick 6 is also of note which has a carryover of $16,276. The sequence begins in race four which scheduled to go about 3:20 p.m. (Vancouver time).
The nine furlong Grade III B.C. Derby is always the signature race on the Hastings Racecourse calendar and with five invaders coming in from Alberta and Washington the race is true championship test. The race is scheduled to go at 5:25 p.m.
On the rail is Peter Redekop’s A.P.ZONA is the local star that has the best chance to take home the top prize. Peter Redekop is no stranger to winning Derby’s if he were to win today it would be his fifth. A.P. ZONA has good tactical speed and should be sitting in a great spot in behind the speed. He has three wins (two stakes) and a second place performance in his four starts since being claimed $40,000 at Santa Anita in March. Leading trainer Phil Hall will give instructions to regular rider Enrique Gonzalez.
Brett Mason’s MORE POWER TO HIM was third in the $75,000 Emerald Derby last month which has earned him a start in this afternoon’s race. His best races have been when he has been positioned close to the early pace and with a favourable draw that will likely be the strategy today. He is stakes placed in a Grade III event and has two other stakes placed efforts so he is definitely a major player. He turned in an excellent work (47 2/5) after arriving in Vancouver and will get Emerald Downs’ leading jockey Rocco Bowen in the tack for trainer Kay Cooper.
Rollingson Racing Stable, Randy Howg, Clayton and Rick Wiest’s CHIEF KNOW IT ALL looked awesome in his first run after the expensive $100,000 claim winning the Grade III $150,000 Canadian Derby last month. He has good early speed, which is a plus at our Hastings oval, and obviously has the class to take down this field. It has been awhile we have seen Robertino Diodoro at Hastings but he is in town for the big race. Diodoro has dominated wherever he has raced which include Northlands Park, Turf Paradise, Canterbury, Oaklawn Park and has branched out to both of the New York and California racing circuits. He will leg up perennial high percentage rider Rico Walcott who has won the Derby on Title Contender and Alert Bay.
Russ and Lois Bennett’s homebred PARSIMONIOUS has been second his first two career starts in maiden races and inherited the win last time after a medication violation on the winner. He is a half brother to Hastingsfilly and mare champion TOUCHING PROMISE so distance is definitely a plus for him. He obviously lacks the racing experience that the balance of field have but his connections have opted to give him a shot. Antonio Reyes will be at the controls for two-time (Halo Steven-2006 and Majesticality- 2010) B.C. Derby winning trainer Barbara Heads.
The Sycamore Stables’ DOUBLE BEAR was an unlucky loser in the $150,000 Canadian Derby as he ended up dead-heating for second after being bumped at the head of the stretch. There was lengthy enquiry but the results were not changed . He showed that he can battle with the big boys and it a top threat in this race. Dane Nelson is in town from Edmonton to ride for trainer Rod Cone.
Don Danard and Mel Snow’s DRILLER has been the second best three year old at Hastings this year and is another that is in with a big chance. He has been game in all six of his starts going six and a half furlongs and a mile and a sixteenth. He will likely take a nice trip just off of the leaders and if things go his way he could be right in the thick of things at the end. Regular rider Silvino Morales will return to the saddle.
Riversedge Racing Stables’ TROOPER JOHN has been the top three year old in Alberta in 2017 He had won three consecutive stakes races but recently lost narrowly in the Canadian Derby which took nothing away from his status as the best in Alberta. He has been in Vancouver for a couple of weeks and has trained beautifully since arriving. Keishan Balgobin returns to Hastings to ride for trainer Tim Rycroft.
Bill DeCoursey’s homebred HANDSOME CHEF earned a ticket to the Derby with an impressive victory from well off the pace in an allowance event besting Derby entrants DRILLER and HUNTERS APPEAL. He might have the right running style to prosper in this race that appears on paper to have plenty of early speed for this nine furlong test. Amadeo Perez is back aboard for the aforementioned Derby winning trainer Barbara Heads.
Chappell Alpine Farms’ brilliant colt RISER will try and secure a $25,000 bonus for winning both the Emerald Downs and B.C. Derby’s. The son of Mizzen Mast set scorching early fractions (45 4/5, 1:09 3/5) in the Emerald Derby and stayed on bravely for the victory. He is the one to beat and is obviously the speed of the race and if left alone early he will be tough to catch. Former Hastings jockey Aaron Gryder is town to ride for Emerald Downs’ leading trainer Blaine Wright.
Mohamad Khan’s HUNTERS APPEAL has paid immediate dividends after his $16,000 claim winning the $50,000 Derby Trial and recently finishing third in an allowance prep. He has drawn a tough post but does have an off-the-pace stlye which shouldn’t hurt him too much. He picks up leading rider Richard Hamel which is a plus. Richard will get a leg up on HUNTERS APPEAL from trainer Jim Brown
One of many co-features on the day is the $100,000 B.C. Oaks for three year old fillies at a mile and an eighth. This race has eight talented fillies from B.C., Alberta and Washington. It goes as race five at 3:46 p.m.
On the inside is Peter Redekop’s ANSTRUM who recently won her second stakes race at Northlands winning the $82,000 Sonoma at a mile and a sixteenth. She is in top form and is a top threat in her return to Hastings. Former Hastings rider Keishan Balgobin is flying in for the ride for trainer Phil Hall.
The RNH Stables’ YUKON BELLE was the two year old champ last year but has had no success trying to beat the reigning queen this season at Hastings DAZ LIN DAWN. She continues to run good races and has not missed the board in her nine race career. She will need her ultimate best to win today. Antonio Reyes is aboard and they were the last tandem to beat DAZ LIN DAWN. Barbara Heads trains.
George Gilbert’s GOOD LUCK TO YOU was an impressive winner in her last start going wire-to-wire in a very quick 1:44 3/5 in an allowance event. She is very tough when she gets to the top and could get loose on the lead today. Amadeo Perez will be the helm for leading trainer Phil Hall.
Ron Schmid’s LITTLE DANCER has been as pleasant surprise for her Washington connections cater starting career for $15,000 she has blossomed into a brilliant filly. She recently was second against older mares in the Distaff on Mile Day and prior won the $79,000 Washington Oaks. She is eligible for a $25,000 bonus if she were to win today capturing both the Washington and B.C. Oaks. Rocco Bowen is back in the tack for trainer Doris Harwood.
The most impressive performer at Hastings has been Nancy Betts, JDP Holdings and the Deltin Stables’ DAZ LIN DAWN who has definitely lived up to her name. She is a perfect six-for-six in stakes company and has won carrying a hefty impost of 126 pounds. This race is scale weights (121 pounds for all) and someone will need to run their career best race to beat her today at equal weights. She has won her six races by a combined 30 lengths and the big daughter of obscure stallion Popular is going to be almost impossible to beat. Richard Hamel rides for trainer Nancy Betts.
Dan Lee’s BABYS GOT TRACK has hit the board in stakes company getting a second and third behind DAZ LIN DAWN this year. She has been very consistent and will give a good account herself again today. Enrique Gonzalez will be at the controls for trainer Phil Hall.
Dave Mowat’s TOP QUALITY broke her maiden at Golden Gate Fields going a flat mile then was shipped north to Seattle and won the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap. She ran fifth in a pace-less Washington Oaks and came back to finish third with older mares behind B.C. Oaks entrant LITTLE DANCER. She will need a lively pace to aid her off-the-pace style. Aaron Gryder rides for trainer Blaine Wright.
The Riveresedge Racing Stables’ HIGH APPLAUSE finished third behind GOODLUCK TO YOU and YUKON BELLE in an allowance prep last month. She is a maiden but the successful connections think enough of her to give her a shot. Rico Walcott gets the call from trainer Craig MacPherson.
There are four other stakes races on the program including the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity, the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity, the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate and the $50,000 Delta Colleen.
It is going to be a great afternoon of thoroughbred racing. First post is at 1:50 p.m.
Good luck to all !!!