“ONE INCREDIBLE YEAR” CONTINUES
FOR BALLERINA WINNER NOTIS THE JEWELL
Vancouver, B.C. (Oct. 8/17) – Jockey Richard Hamel gave Notis the Jewell a final love tap, sprung out of her saddle and said to the throng of well-wishers in the winner’s circle: “Isn’t this fun?”
On this crisp and cool Sunday afternoon at Hastings Racecourse on the eve of Thanksgiving, the script didn’t call for Notis the Jewell to win the Grade 3 $100,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares.
That honour was expected to go to heavily favoured Southern California invader She’s a Warrior with Hastings’ matinee idol jockey Mario Gutierrez in the irons. Mario was making a special guest appearance direct from Belmont Park in New York where he ran third aboard Pavel in Saturday’s $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
But Notis the Jewell, trained and co-owned by Bill McLaren, made it three stakes wins in succession when she answered Hamel’s call and collared the leaders entering the stretch, finishing the 11/8-miles in a final time of 1:51.64.
Gutierrez and She’s a Warrior battled gamely to finish second, 2 ¼ lengths behind Notis the Jewell and a bobbing head in front of long shot Sailingforthesun.
“She put it into gear when I asked her to,” said Hamel, the leading rider at Hastings with 71 wins this year. “She just keeps getting better and better.”
Notis the Jewell paid $17.10, $6.00, $4.70.
Nobody in the joyful winner’s circle wore a bigger smile than McLaren, who leases the four-year-old B.C.-bred from the family of the late Len Fielding, Notis the Jewell’s breeder and owner.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think she was going to become a stakes winner,” said McLaren, a cab driver in his other life. “This has been one incredible year.
Notis the Jewell earlier won the $50,000 Pacific Customs Brokers Distaff and the $50,000 Delta Colleen. The daughter of Stephanotis started her winning streak on July 15 in a $14,000 maiden claiming race.
Live racing resumes at Hastings with a Thanksgiving Day card featuring the 71st running of the Grade 3 BC Premiers that goes as the seventh race at 4:50 p.m. The eight-race holiday card begins at 1:50 p.m.