It’s time to move on
Closing day at Hastings Racecourse usually means that it’s time to pack up and head south for the next four or five months for many of the workers involved in the industry.
For many, including trainers, grooms and jockeys, it means saying goodbye to people you’ve known or worked with for years. The stable gates opened in early February to begin training for the upcoming season and there is a feeling of togetherness for the ensuing nine months.
While many local trainers will stable their horses on nearby farms, several others will be taking their horses to run at racetracks in the U.S. They include this season’s leading trainer Phil Hall along with Steve Henson and Cindy Krasner who set up shop at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.
“This will be my fifth year going to Arizona,” said Krasner. “As a rule, most of the horses Canadians take to Turf Paradise do well. It’s also a good place to pick up horses for purchase since some may fit into the Hastings program. Also, the cost of living is cheaper than here. Although the purses are not as good when compared to Hastings, it beats sitting home without any money coming in.”
JOCKS ON THE MOVE: Because of the 52-day racing schedule at Hastings that is conducted just two days a week, jockeys such as Antonio Reyes, Amadeo Perez and Ruben Lara return home to Mexico City to spend some time with their families and riding at nearby Hipodromo de las Americas. Romario Saunders will visit family in Jamaica and plans to ride at Santa Rose Racetrack in his hometown.
Apprentice jockey Lenny Seecharan returns home to Trinidad and plans to ride at one of the several tracks in the area.
And while on the subject of jockeys, Enrique Gonzalez, who broke his ankle recently in a freak accident, is not expected to get on a horse for at least three months. He has returned to his family in Mexico City.
Also on the injured list and still recovering from a June riding accident is Jose Acensio. He heads back to Mexico City next week.
BEST COMEBACK: Last fall jockey Sahin Civaci had some success at Hastings in his dream job. He later gave it up, though, to work in construction and it wasn’t long before he learned to manage his time and returned to Hastings to exercise horses on weekend. This spring, after receiving a call from his former agent Chad Hoverson, he went back to riding while keeping his day job. “Things have been going great,” Civaci says. “I’ve had some success during the past month and thanks to Chad, my career has been great, better than I expected.”
Since his return, Civaci has won 19 races and is seventh in the jockey standings heading into this final weekend at Hastings. As for his best memory, he says: “It would probably be winning the $50,000 Winston Churchill on Hunter’s Appeal for trainer Jim Brown. Also finishing second in the SW Randall Plate with Crazy Prophet for trainer John Snow. This whole year has been a highlight for me.”
WORTH NOTING: Among highlights this season has been the success of JDP Holdings, Delton Stables and Nancy Betts with Daz Lin Dawn, also trained by Betts. Daz Lin Dawn, and this season went undefeated in seven starts with lifetime earnings hitting $218,064 mark.
Her winning streak is the second longest modern-day win streak of nine in a row, held by UMA Racing’s Warner Pass trained by legendary Alan Jack during the 1997-98 season.
CLOSING DAY: The final weekend of racing at Hastings features eight-race cards on both Saturday and Sunday with start times of 1:50 p.m. On Sunday there are four BC Cup stakes each worth $50,000: the Nursery, Distaff, Debutante and Classic.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wishing all of you a safe, healthy and prosperous winter.