For everyone involved with Monday’s BC Cup Day, the afternoon created lots of smiles not only for those with horses connected to this very successful day, it was also bonus time for racing fans. As it proved giving the right circumstances horse racing still is very much alive in this province.
Among multiple highlights and rest assured there were many, included the victory by Canyon Farms, three-year-old Day Raider who won the $50,000 Sir Winton Churchill Derby Trial.
Canyon Farms owners are Terry and Wally Leong who call Kelowna home. Among top horses they have bred and raced, Illusive Force ($458,134), Lord Samarai ($294.370), Lord Shogun ($242,882) and Strait of Dover. Strait of Dover who went on and captured the $1,000,000 Queens Plate in 2012, giving him $749,628 in money won. And also named Sovereign Award winner for 2012. With horse racing as is with life, things can change in a heartbeat.
It was July 12, 2013, they received news that Strait of Dover had not recovered from an operation for a twisted colon and had to be euthanized at Milton Equine Hospital in Toronto.
“When doctors opened him up that Friday,” said Terry Leong, by telephone in 2013, “they thought he would be fine. But by Sunday realized, he was not going to get better. It was quite the shock.” The Leong’s as everyone who breeds and own horses, think of their horses as their children. This was hard for them along with everyone
Else on their farm.
Since their Queens Plate victory, they’ve cut back somewhat. “You could say that’s true, ” said Wally Leong, “because of my age and physical problems, Terry is now doing most of the strenuous work with our horses, which is why I couldn’t be there to watch Day Raider run.” Instead, Terry drove down with close neighbors Russ and Lois Bennett who had Touching Promise racing that afternoon.
“She was really excited about the win.” added Leong, “She got to take home the flowers and trophy. And later talked with our trainer Craig (MacPherson), who feels our horse may want to race a longer distance, possibly the Canadian Derby in Edmonton, who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see.”Through all the highs and lows, they remain in love with horse racing.
THE PLACE TO BE: For forty-three years, the late Jack Short called 50,000 races always closing the races with “Adios Amigos’, making one think, perhaps, he was onto something.
On BC Cup day in the winner’s circle, there was an increasing amount of international jockeys. Mexican born jockey Antonio Reyes won an astonishing five races including three $50,000 BC Cup Stakes, also BC born, Richard Hamel captured two races, while Sahin Civaci (Turkey) and M A Rodriguez (Mexico) each had a victory.
As to why this is happening, perhaps younger Canadian do not want to pursue a career that depends on constant weight watching, long days of labor and the fact that it’s also a very dangerous job. Those reasons alone could explain the reason why horse racing is changing.
Here are just a few examples. While growing up in Mexico, a young Antonio Reyes had dreams of one day becoming a jockey. Among his close neighbors was Enrique Gonzalez, already established as a top rider at Hipódromo de las Américas, in Mexico City. Reyes asked him how he could became a jockey. Gonzalez who had already ridden at Hasting’s in 2017 finishing second in the riders standings with 51 wins, suggested Reye’s give Hastings in Vancouver Canada a try.
“What is happening,” says jockey Denis Araujo who arrived at a Hastings last season. “it’s become well known in horse racing that Vancouver (Hastings) has a reputation for being a great track to help jump-start a jockey’s career. This also gives them a better chance to perhaps maybe move on towards riding in the U.S,” he concluded.
Last season, youngster apprentice jockey Lenny Seecharan arrived from Trinidad with dreams of making it at Hastings. Seecharan while arriving late in the season, still won six races. When he went home told twin brother Learie, also a young rider to give Hastings a chance. After arriving to Vancouver, both are riding at our local racetrack.
NOTES ON PROGRAM: While it was an especially good afternoon
for those who won races on BC Cup Day, it was even a greater day for several owners of BC Breds who won races and received some of the $150,000 Incentives Awards offered. Among recipients, Here’s Hannah, ($25,000) BC Stables and Paul Caravetta. Notis the Jewell ($25,000), Mark & Larry Fielding, Cherie Moryson and Chris Derose, Dancin Shoes. David and Delaurlyn Pihl ($25,000) and an additional $10,000 winning a race in higher races… The Chances R, Mel Snow & Conrad Rozenek, (10,000). Dorys Darlin, Blue Willow Dairy & Pat Jarvis ($10,000)… Bonus racing at Hastings, the popular Corgi dogs are racing Sunday, preliminary heats after Races 1, 2, 3 & 4. The championship final runs after Race 6 at approx. 4:30 p.m. and don’t forget your cameras.
Racing resumes tonight at 7::00 pm.
Special ‘Thank you’ to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport
Enjoy this wonderful weekend