1 Hastings trainer Mike Anderson and jockey Keishan Balgobin discuss what happened to their horse after the race and jockeys valet Rob Hensen.   Lisa Thompson Photo

For years, one of the most respected horsemen at Hastings Racecourse has been trainer Mike Anderson. Since receiving his first trainer license in 1982, he has notched a great following of horseplayers and fans.

In 2015 and 2016, Anderson topped all trainers in victories, last season finishing second behind trainer Phil Hall. This year, he’s sitting in third place and challenging the leaders in the most wins category.

Asked how he has remained so consistent over the years? “I believe a lot of it, “said Anderson, “has to do with being able to take many of the horses to the farm (Terry Clyde’s) after they race. There we can turn them out in small pens and they can get out into the sunshine and have a roll on the grass before coming back to the track. Also, it keeps them in the right frame of minds and not having to train on the same surface every day.”

He also mentions the time between races in the northwest can also be a concern. “Here we race a horse usually every two weeks,” adds Anderson. “When ideally every three weeks or eighteen to twenty-one days would be a perfect time for them to recover between races. Here you have to be ready sooner and learn to adapt.”

Anderson, known as a trainer who sometimes claims (Purchase) a horse out of a race and asked what he looks for in doing that? “With me, it’s keeping your eyes open in the mornings,” says Anderson. “Here at Hastings, you want a horse who can run short or long distances. If you have a horse who can only run short, then there’s a good chance they may be in the barn for awhile, which is why it’s crucial to have a horse who is versatile.”

This season, Anderson’s statistics reveal a respectful 19 wins from 119 starts with earnings over $287,000.

It’s a happy group after longshot Convergent with Ruben Lara riding won Sundays 5th race at Hastings, giving jockey Lara his first win of the season. Credit – Four Footed Fotos

DOUBLE DUTY: Last Sunday, jockey Ruben Lara won his first race of the season. This season, some may be asking is this the same jockey who from 2014-2016 ranked among the top 10 riders at Hastings.

The answer is yes. Lara who hails from Mexico and considered by his peers to be a steady reliable journeyman jockey spends his winters at home working around horses and being near his daughter twenty-year-old Carly, who this year became a jockey in that country.

My dream,” says Lara, “is to one day to ride with her in a race either at the Hipodromo de Las Americas racetrack in Mexico City or in Vancouver. She’s doing fine there, but most of all Carly is learning about this new career.”

But for now, his main concern is earning a living to support himself and his family.

“This year when I got back to Hastings, all the jockeys had agents which left me without one and after a week, I decided to go and work as an exercise person in the mornings to pay the bills and would get on from 10 to 15 horses each morning,” said Lara. (Note, exercise fees for galloping a horse is from $12-15 dollars) Lara then made a tough decision.”After weighing one job against the other decided I was making more money being an exercise ride than as a jockey.”

Which led to his winner aboard Convergent at 20-1 last Sunday in the 5th race for trainer Frank Ma. “I had been spending a lot of time with Convergent. “said Lara, “Frank (Ma) mentioned to me, how we got along well and would I want to ride her? Of course, I said yes. I’m so grateful to Frank and the owners for giving me this chance.”

Yes, what’s not to love about this great sport.

. Rising equine star at Hasting’s, George Gilbert’s unbeaten Summerland easily captures the $50,000 Spaghetti Mouse with Ricky Gonzalez riding. – Four Footed Fotos

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Last weekend there were plenty of multiple winners at Hastings including trainers Phil Hall (3), Mike Anderson (3) and Glen Todd (3). As for jockeys, Aaron Gryder (3), Amadeo Perez (2), Enrique Gonzalez (2) and apprentice jockey Jose Asencio (2)…One has to be impressed with George Gilbert’s Summerland easy victory in the $50,000 Spaghetti Mouse Stakes. Also seeing Rob and Victoria Gilker’s Victress back on track with a win in the $50,000 Monashee. And how about that come from behind win by Peacock, Giesbrecht and Hall’s, Calgary Caper in the $50,000 Lt. Governors…Racing resumes at Hastings this weekend 1:5 p.m.




Whenever you’re at the races and notice an enormous group of people in the winner’s circle, it could only mean one thing that one of two of the Hastings Racing Clubs racing stables has struck again.

Last Sunday, it was Hastings Racing Club 2 and their horse A. F. Indy, that caught the attention of those in attendance.

For this group, it was victory number 10 and brought Horse Racing Club 2’s earnings to over $145,000. That is not bad for an initial investment costing $250.00.

When it started the ‘Club’ didn’t have a horse with the thinking being if they were able to get sixty people to sign up it would be great. The group quickly reached 250 new owners in two weeks.

Since then, some members have gone on their own and purchased shares with friends in other horses. “One person now has multiple horses,” said Richard Yates, General Manager of HRC., “we’re now approaching fifty people who now own all or part shares of a horse.”

It’s safe to say if they weren’t satisfied they wouldn’t be back.

Another attraction is membership fees cover stabling, Veterinarian and Ferrier costs, plus training and other expenses.

“To be part of a club and share in the experience,” said member Gloria Russo, “It’s awesome,  to go to the paddock and talk to other members. it’s one of the coolest things I did. What is also great was a few weeks ago they held fan appreciation day in the tent at Hastings and that was really a nice gesture for the club members.”

FINALLY RECOGNIZED:  Last Sunday, was “Groom Appreciation Day” and thanks to a local owner, one horse in each race was chosen for its appearance by a select panel of judges.

With the winning Groom receiving a wonderful prize package that included a ‘32’ inch TV, Camping Backpack filled with goodies, $50.00 Gift certificates to the Track Kitchen and Derby Bar & Grill.

Among the winners was Olivia Carr who grooms Babylon Will Fall (Fourth race) for trainer Mike Anderson whose horse was named ‘Best in Appearance’.

It was while attending Simon Fraser University, Carr answered an ad in a local paper placed by trainer Rob Gilker. He was looking for a groom to work at his barn at Hastings racecourse.

“It’s long hours,” says Carr. “grooms do almost everything, from feeding, tacking them up to go to the track. You also have to recognize if they’re sound and healthy or if something is bugging them. You almost have to know a little about medical stuff in case a horse gets sick and how to fix problems so you do not have to call a veterinarian as they are expensive.”

Here are names of the other six winners on Grooms Appreciation Day.

Race  Horse    Groom        Trainer

#1 Kelson,  Vashti Holm – Glen Todd

#2 Our Bonita Rose,  Vince Quesnelle – Pat Jarvis

#3 Fireman,  Carly Guerin – Barb Heads

#4 Babylon Will Fall, Olivia Carr – Mike Anderson

#5 Mighty Mick,  Malcolm Smith – Jim Brown

#6 Bluegrass Angus,  Nicole Rycroft – Craig MacPherson

#7 He’s Got Ego,  Danny Bekesi – Pat Jarvis

The horse racing industry wishes to ‘Thank’ all of the hard-working people who make up this unheralded group.


BIG PLANS: This weekend at Hastings, three $50,000 stakes races are on tap. Saturday’s card is featuring many of the top Fillies and Mares on the grounds going a mile and sixteenth in The Monashee Stake. Sunday has two big races scheduled, the Lieutenant Governors Stakes, for three-year-olds and up and the Spaghetti Mouse Stakes for two-year-olds going six furlongs, which will mark the return of the promising youngster Summerland. The two-year-old will be coming off a dazzling track record debut victory on May, 27th. This weekend will also mark the return of the popular Wiener Dog Races. The weatherman has predicted sunshine for both days. Saturday and Sunday Post time is 1:50 p.m. 

With ‘Special Thanks’ to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport



There’s a good chance for many in attendance at Hastings Racecourse for the Canada Day weekend of racing,  ​they ​were treated to something very special. 
A serious Jockey Richard Hamel aboard Here’s Hannah in post parade for $50,000 Supernaturel. – Credit Joshua Mcneil

​After last years leading jockey Richard Hamel won both $50,000 stakes races, Chris Loseth (Weekend Wizard) and Supernaturel Stakes (Here’s Hannah).
​ ​An accomplishment that almost did not become reality.

On May 5th, after being away for nearly six months, due to knee surgery, Hamel returned to the saddle winning the $50,000 Jim Coleman Stakes and the next day he comes back and wins The Ross McLeod Stakes with Here’s Hannah.

For Hamel, those wins were great, but also bittersweet “At that time,”

 said Hamel, “my knees were beginning to bother me again and I was not sure if I would be able to come back. But with some hard work, I got back in shape and now feel better. Thinking about it, after a month and a half off, I just rode two-mile sixteenths races, which really makes me really pleased with myself.”

For Hamel, those wins gave him comfort, knowing that a few people perceived it was easy because of the way they had won, anyone could have ridden them. 

“It’s funny, how some people think,” adds Hamel. “the first weekend when I rode Here’s Hannah and Weekend Wizard they won easily, some people then thought anyone could have ridden them. Then when they are ridden by someone else and don’t win, like all jockeys, you feel good.”

Yes, it was an amazing afternoon.


Hastings trainer looking after Foster’s Meadow’s Bluegrass Pride – Credit Lisa Thompson

OUR LOVE FOR HORSES: If you’re involved with horses or just love them, you’ll understand my reason for writing this short story of trainer Tara Neigel, who has a stable of three horses at Hastings. 

She also still owns Steelhead, aka Finn, the first horse Neigel ever owned, therefore the love of her life. One could say they are inseparable.

Sunday, July 24, Neigel entered veteran runner Bluegrass Pride in a $4000 claiming race. When the race was over Bluegrass Pride was victorious and ordinarily, this would make a happy ending for Neigel.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way. We’ll let her explain, “I had planned on selling Finn,” said Neigel, “He was so kind, loved children and getting attention from anyone and anything. I knew Finn could do far greater things far beyond what I could give him. If you looked in his direction, he would knicker at you.”

Friday, two days before Bluegrass Pride won, tragedy struck. “Finn while grazing, came to the road,” said Neigel,  made a right turn, thinking perhaps, he was going to the equestrian center where he goes to be ridden.

A lady was distracted by her child, didn’t see Finn and hit him from behind and broke both his hind legs. He dragged himself into a ditch while cars continued to drive by.”

She explained that it was then that a woman from a nearby farm stopped to help. “She jumped on his neck, says Neigel, “and stayed with him, while he was in shock. She was also hurt in the process. I called everyone for help. The veterinarian arrived and euthanized him as I kissed his white nose at the time. I do not have children, my animals are my children. I’m grieving like I have lost a child. RIP FINN, I love you.


Friends of the late Jr, Goss pay tribute to veteren Clocker, Jockeys Agent and racetrack Photographer after 4th race won by Bornatthetrack – Four Footed Fotos.

​ ​

Last Sunday, friends of longtime horse racing clocker Richard (Jr.) Goss celebrated his life with a Memorial Ceremony after the fourth race. Goss worked in the sport for over thirty years as a jockey’s agent, chart caller and winners circle photographer and truly loved our sport.  

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Looks like an interesting jockeys race at Hasting with four jockeys within a few wins of each other, Amadeo Perez (22), Enrique Gonzalez (22), Denis Araujo (21) and Aaron Gryder (17)…Trainers race is also shaping up to be close with Phil Hall (15), Glen Todd (12) and Mark Cloutier (12) and Barb Heads (11)…Racing resumes Saturday and Sunday 1:50 pm.


Special thanks to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport 


George Gilbert’s ‘Summerland’ easily wins the first two-year-old race at Hastings, Enrique Gonzalez in the saddle
Whether you’re involved in horse racing from the business side or as a fan of the sport, this weekend is a good time to head out to Hastings racecourse.
If your wondering, what’s the attraction? There are several races featuring young horses racing for the first time in their lives and they often bring great anticipation to a lot of people. Also the youngsters are fun and entertaining to watch because their futures are still unknown. You could be watching maybe a possible superstar in the making. Remember this is horse racing where dreams can come true and sometimes do.
For horse breeders this is the type of racing that is liken to a cherry on the top of chocolate soda. It’s a climax to when it all began, back a few years when they were watching their little foals being born. Then later growing up to become the racehorse they dreamt of becoming.
Same can be said for the owners. One does not hope to go out and purchase a racehorse just to say they own a race horse. Not at all, there is nothing more satisfying than being an owner proudly telling your friends, “come out to the races, my horse is running today.” That in itself is a rush to enjoy.
“With two-year-olds,” said trainer Dino Condilenios, “you always have your hopes and dreams of maybe owning that big horse, (Very successful) because it doesn’t matter how much you paid for them. After all any of them, could become a good horse or even a champion. In reality it’s the dream of owning that big horse,” he concluded.
It is during the morning workouts when trainers learn more about their horses.
“That is when, we do our best to school (teach) them.” adds Condilenios. “Sometimes a horse won’t show you much in the mornings. Yet in the afternoons, they’ll show you how much heart they have by trying hard always giving you their best. That’s something you just can’t measure. While another may work like a good horse and in the afternoon, not show you much.
One key note, is the $50,000 Spaghetti Mouse Stake for two-year-olds coming up July 15 and any additional races that these youngsters can compete in before hand is sometimes crucial to their performance.
KEEPS GETTING BETTER: Local Breeder/Owner from (Langley B,C) John Gunther and daughter Tanya’s names  were trending Tuesday on the internet. Monday their  Glennwood Farms homebred Without Parole captured the $1,193,000 St James’s Palace Stakes G1 at Royal Ascot. Veteran rider, Frankie Dettori rode the winner holding off nine rivals. This is Without Parole’s fourth victory.
Saluting the late Hastings jockey Mark Walker shown with son Tyler. Mark will be honored with Saturday’s 5th race named after for him. Mark was good friend and talented rider
NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Celebration of life for the late jockey Mark Walker, Friday 1-4 p.m. in the George Royal room at Hastings Racecourse.
 Also Saturday’s 5th race is the Mark Walker Memorial. Mark was one great rider, but most of all a good friend…
Amadeo Perez leads a talented group of jockeys at Hastings this season
Can you think of another year when Hastings jockeys room was so strong with talented riders like Amadeo Perez 20 wins, Enrique Gonzalez (18), Aaron Gryder (16)  Dennis Araujo (15) and remaining top 10 riders all worthy rivals….
Hastings standings for Top Trainers is still tight on top with  Phil Hall (14), Glen Todd (11) and Mark Cloutier (10). The final standings could end up becoming a horse racing finish.

​ ​

Racing resumes at Hastings this Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1:50 p.m.


Well known breeder of Triple Crown winner John Gunther and daughter Tanya at the stable
If there was anything learned from last weekend, it was that local owners and breeders living in our wonderful province do a pretty remarkable job with their horses.

In fact, British Columbia was a major topic within the horse racing community this week.

John D. Gunther who resides in both Langley B.C. and Kentucky,  bred Justify as a youngster then sold him for $500,000, and then the colt won Saturday’s $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes capturing the illusive Triple Crown.

 While he may no longer own Justify, he still owns Stage Magic the mother of the Triple Crown winner and she is currently in foal to Quality Road. 

As for how much a Triple Crown winner can be worth is priceless but Justify’s new winnings total is $3,798.000  and his value as a stallion can only grow. 

Next season,” said Gunther, “she will be bred to Kentucky Derby winner Curlin. There’s been a lot of interest in her, but I’m not going to sell her.”

He admits the person, started it all was his daughter Tanya.

She certainly is largely responsible for the success of Glenwood Farms. “says Gunther. “Without question, she was an investment banker, then decided to pursue her passion of her love for horses. Tanya plans all the matings. If it wasn’t for her this wouldn’t have happened. Also, our whole team at Glenwood was fantastic,” concluded Gunther. 

Always a firm believer of horse racing in the Province, he feels strongly the attention the sport is now receiving should be great for racing in British Columbia.

Kewlona, BC resident Charles Fipke’s, Bee Jersey-sired by BC stallion Jersey Town wins the $1,250,000 Metropolitan Mile at Belmont Park in New York – NYRA.

MORE BIG MONEY: Also Saturday Bee Jersey owned by Charles Fipke from Kelowna, B.C. won the Grade 1 $1,250,000 Metropolitan Mile.

 Another interesting local hook, the sire of Bee Jersey is Jersey Town, who stands stud at Roads End Farms in B.C. since Dec. 2017. 

Jersey Town raced in the 2009 $275,000 BC Derby at Hastings Park, finishing second with the late Alan Cuthbertson riding.

Popular owner Dave Elder and friends in the Winners Circle after his Sharp Contrast win the sixth races at Hastings – Four Footed Fotos

PROUD VICTORY: Among the winners on Sunday’s program was longtime owner David Elder, whose filly Sharp Contrast won the sixth race of the afternoon. In 1999, Elder suffered a spinal cord injury and later began Advance Mobility a health service provider.

For years, with close friend and former jockey Mike Chabara as his trainer, they ran a small stable winning a few races.

When Chabara retired from training, Elder remained involved in a sport he loved and later hired Mark Cloutier to be his new trainer.

In 2016,” recalls Elder, “I asked trainer Dave Forster, if he would get me a young horse. It was then at the 2016 Keeneland Yearling Sale in Kentucky, that he bought me Sharp Contrast for $30,000. And she’s been slowly getting better having never been out of the money. I’ve learned to take things one race at a time.”

TWO STAKES ON TAP: This weekend there are two $50,000 races scheduled. Saturday it’s the Strawberry Morn, named after the great mare from the mid 90’s.

Among this tough field of female runners, the game eight-year-old veteran mare

Touching Promise, four-year-old, Yukon Belle and six-year-old,  Sailingforthesun.

Sunday’s John Longden 6000 named after the legendary rider, has a seven-horse field of competitive horses, including  Driller, Highway Boss, Modern and Calgary Caper among this very contentious field. Post Time for both Saturday and Sunday goes at 1:50 pm

Special thanks to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport 



Trainer Barb heads shown winning her third straight victory with Gold Girl on Saturday. Head’s also had a winner Sunday

For some reason or another, every once in awhile one race catches the imagination of not only horse racing fans but sports fans from all over. Of course, we’re writing about the 150th running of the  Belmont Stakes to be shown at Hastings Racecourse at 3:36 on monitors throughout the racetrack.

 Since 1978 several horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, I’ll Have Another in 2012 and California Chrome in 2014), but all failed at adding their name to that elusive Triple Crown Trophy.

 Then in 2015, after 37 years with no Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah broke the long drought by winning the third and final race and capturing the Triple Crown.That win helped ease the heartache jockey Victor Espinoza has felt when failing to win the Belmont with California Chrome.

The history of that race also shows how difficult a race at a mile and a half it can be to win. Which had me thinking, why not ask two friends of mine, who know first hand what it’s like to win the Belmont Stakes.

In 1973, Canadian born and Hall of Fame Inductee jockey Ron Turcotte won the Triple Crown with perhaps the greatest horse in racing history, The great “Secretariat”.

“What a lot of fans don’t know, said Turcotte, by phone from Grand Falls, NB. ” it’s an easy race to ride because it’s run at the longer distance, all a jockey has to do is get his horse to relax early by taking a long hold of the reigns and getting them to settle down. Just as if they were out for a morning gallop.”

He also admits to noticing some mistakes made by jockeys riding the race. “I’ve seen it a few times, ” adds Turcotte, “where jockeys get anxious and move too soon then have nothing left in the tank.”

One of the most respected jockeys of all time is Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, winner of two Belmont Stakes races with Risen Star (1988) and A. P. Indy (1992).

“With those great big sweeping turns and that long stretch,” said Eddie Delahoussaye, “it’s an interesting race in many ways. You have to have patience and have the horses with the stamina. Horses that lay fairly close seem to run well. Very seldom do you see a horse coming from last get up to win, it’s very deceiving. But percentages favour horses who are laying closer than those coming from way behind.”

 As for the Belmont Stakes being a jockey’s race to win or lose. ” You have to have a horse that can run the distance, ” adds Delahoussaye. “For us jockeys, It’ really is a great race to ride and also a great one for fans to watch.”

Both jockeys have equally similar thoughts on the outcome, With what Justify has accomplished in such a short time, and not having any bad luck during the race, the Bob Baffert trained runner should come home a winner.

TRIPLE HEADER: Major shout out to trainer Barb Head for her amazing racing Hat Trick’ on Saturday, June 2nd.  Heads won three races in a row from the fourth race with fourth Sunset Drive, fifth race with Lucky Ending then closed out her streak in the sixth race with Gold Girl.  She also won the second race Sunday with Mori Girl.

ODDITY: A Little back story on our Ron Turcotte phone interview from New Brunswick

When Ron picks up the phone, He says,” Guess what Tom.  I’m watching you here on the ‘Black’. After a few seconds, I’m wondering what’s he talking about?

For years, it was thought jockey Ron Turcotte was looking at the crowd while winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes. In reality, Turcotte was looking to see the clock timer

He tells me,” I’m watching the Black Stallion on television and you’re on it just as we’re talking and we each have a little chuckle.”

Apprentice Learie Seecharan watches identical twin Lenny winning with Rob & Sheena Maybin’s Feel No Shame

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: All of us in local horse racing, wish to send Good luck wishes to local horse owner/breeder John Gunther and his family being the breeder of Justify on their journey to capture the elusive Triple Crown tomorrow in New York…Strange sighting in the Hastings jockeys room, with young apprentice jockeys Lenny and Learie Seecharan, identical twins watching on television, the race Lenny won with Rob & Sheena Maybin’s Feel No Shame.

Special thanks to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport 




Geoge Glibert’s Summerland impresses​ with a new track record – Four Footed Fotos
Last Sunday, racing fans at Hastings Racecourse witnessed something hardly seen at racetracks, a track record being set.
It came when long-time owner/breeder George Gilbert’s Summerland, not only set a track record, she also obliviated her opposition winning by nine and half-lengths in a time of 38.85, paying $35.60.
 While it may have been the first two-year-old race of the year, and of course no one wants to get ahead of themselves, her victory was pretty impressive.
For Gilbert, who along with Tres Hombres Stables bred Summerland and later bought her entirely, it was a victory that began with lots of help from what those involved in horse racing call ‘Lady Luck’.
“I’ve had quite a few winning horses,” said Gilbert, “but never have I had one that accelerated like this one. She (Summerland) was also the first by the mare Otero which was also surprising. As part of a partnership, we had a three-year-old a two-year-old and a yearling filly.” Gilbert continues to unveil how he came to own Summerland.  “It was my son who suggested we divide the three horses up. They kept the two older horses. Then they ran them through the paddock sale. Since I didn’t need a horse that was ready to race at that time, I took the yearling. One could say, it was the luck of the draw.”
With Summerland’s victory coming from the only two-year-old race of the season, it could be awhile before Gilbert gets to see his filly race again.
“That’s not really a problem.” Gilbert says, ” Phil (Hall) her trainer and I, agree this additional rest can only help with her maturing,  time is now on our side.”
In a nailbiter with jockey Robert Stewart riding Lee & Mabanta’s Fluctuation edges out L&S Farms’ Bombay w Enrique Gonzalez in the saddle – Four Footed Fotos
ONE FOR THE LITTLE GUY:  Hopefully this story will brighten your day. Veteran jockey Robert Stewart began riding over twenty-two years ago in his native Jamaica. Four years ago, Stewart (Bobby) decided to begin a new career as a jockey in Canada and chose Hastings Racecourse for his new home base.
And like so many jockeys who arrive from other countries, mounts were very scarce. To supplement their incomes, for pay they would exercise horses early in the mornings for various trainers, knowing chances of riding these horses may be almost impossible.
Thus far in his career at Hastings, he has ridden 105 horses, winning four times with 9 seconds and fourteen thirds.  Last Sunday, Stewart caught a break riding Barry Lee and Concepcion Mabanta’s Fluctuation to victory in the first race.
“It was really exciting for me,” said Stewart. “Especially since my last win came in 2016 only to have it disqualified when I crossed over on another jockey. Again, I’m so happy for myself but also trainer Ma for giving me a chance.”
For Ma, it was a kind gesture on his part. “After, trainer Ma bought her at the HBPA Paddock Sale” said Stewart, “he asked me if I would get on her in the mornings since she was strong to exercise. He also said I will pay you to exercise her and you can still ride her. I told him, no, you don’t have to do that. Mr. Ma said no, I am going to pay you anyway and you’ll still ride my horse. That’s how I  got to ride my first winner in nearly three years.”
Another strange twist to this story, for trainer Frank Ma it was his first win since 2014, as he also was away from racing the past three seasons.
B C Stables, Here’s Hannah shown continuing her unbeaten win streak Richard Hamel riding – Michael Bye .
FANTASTIC WEEKEND AHEAD: Without a doubt, Saturday’s $50,000 Emerald Downs Handicap (3-Year-Old Fillies) appears to be a race definitely worth watching. With unbeaten in four starts Here’s Hannah going against another undefeated filly in two starts, Tiptoe trained by Dino Condilenios. There is also Cypress Park and Toni Ann’s Miracle both coming off strong victories… Sunday’s $50,000 River Rock Casino Handicap brings together a strong field of 3-year-olds including last years Jack Diamond Futurity winner Wise Market. Post time both afternoons 1:50 p.m.
Special thanks to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport 




Rolling Down the Highway
Peter Redekop’s Alliford easily winning the $50.000 Vancouver Sun w Rico Walcott in the stirrups

On Victoria Day, Trainer Blaine D. Wright who trains for local businessman Peter Redekop’s successful stable won the $50,000 Vancouver Sun with their improving filly Alliford Bay. For the daughter of City Zip and Valentine Fever, it was her second consecutive major race at Hastings. Her first being the $50,000 Brighouse Belles, after arriving by van from Emerald Downs in Washington.

Now if you’re thinking that’s the story, it isn’t.

Trainer Blaine Wright must enjoy the ride to Vancouver, having won two major stakes with Alliford

Last week, May 18, he won with Fly Far Away at Emerald Downs. The following day, he then won with Downwind at Golden gate in northern Califonia. On Sunday of that week, Wright saddled Aliante to victory at Emerald Downs, topping the streak with another win Monday with Alliford Bay.

So the obvious questions any reporter should ask. How does he manage all of his stables, which are scattered at various racetracks across the country and when did he become involved with Peter Redekop?

“This all came about,” said Wright. “almost by chance. My break came when Dr. Bryan Anderson, who is in charge of racing operations for the Redekop Stables, asked me to train one of their horses, “Administer” for them. Administer turned out to be a pretty nice horse. It was because of that horse, they decided to give me a chance with the rest of his stable. And it’s been a dream job. “concluded Wright.

As for how he manages everything, “To start you need good clientele, said Wright. “That allows you to run a system like that. Everybody is different and the team knows up front, I can’t be there all the time. Another major factor is all my assistants are excellent and if I’m away they’re not afraid to say something and I’m hoping one day they all will become trainers.”

Another thought, Wright believes, if he cannot be at a track for a certain race because he has horses running somewhere else. 

To makes sure every one of his team is aware of where he is and that they can talk with his clients. 

Because, Wright’s on the road a lot, he admits to understanding how his family and career can work together.

“So how does it work,” adds Wright, ” When things are going bad, you step back a little and regroup. I try hard to hire kids that will make good horseman, then put them in a position when one day they will be able to take that next step.”

Visiting winner’s circle with horse Future Games is owner/trainer Mary-Anne Baumgartner

DOUBLE DUTY PAYS OFF: Growing up in a family of horse lovers, owner/trainer Mary-Anne Baumgartner aka ‘Twink’ has always been helping others with their horses. She is one of several workers who because of their love for horses and owns a horse or two or even trains a couple for her friends.

Trainers with smaller stables know they will not get rich, but they are doing what they enjoy and that’s being around horses.

“I try hard to keep it simple,” says Mary-Anne, “To help pay my bills, I’ll walk a few horses for other trainers, clean some stalls. Then in the spring, I’m able to pick up some work caring for other peoples horses. That’s nice because people do not really mind if I’m running around to go and look after my own horses” she said.

Last week, Twink was rewarded for all her hard work when the horse she owns which was bred by Robert Charles Ferguson and herself named Future Games won the 5th race.

“It was great,” said Mary-Anne, “had a feeling Future Games would run well. You should know, I really enjoy this. Only sometimes wish I had another horse so I could hire someone to help at the barn. I have no complaints at all” she said smiling.

Proving youngsters enjoy a fun day at the races. still, enjoy the races

STILL A KIDS GAME: Monday while filming, I noticed a youngster with this beautiful Derby/Preakness hat. So I decided to go up to the youngster and her mother introduced myself and asked if they enjoy horses. Mom then introduced me to Rylee, who said yes, after mentioning again the hat, “I made this myself.’ said a smiling  Rylee. A Future horse racing fan for sure.    


Nick and Pauline Felicella’s join their Cypress Park in Winner’s circle – Hastings Racecourse


During their successful careers as local horse owners, Nick and Pauline Felicella have had their fair share of winners. Their runners include one of this province’s favorite horses, Spaghetti Mouse, who retired with earnings just short of $1,000,000.

Others include Lady Vye, winner of $260,781, Orchid’s Silver, which won $189.008 and the list goes on and on. Presently their stable is just shy of having won $3,000,000 from 103 winners, 90 seconds with 88 thirds from only 638 starts.

Things were going well for the pair, but deep down they felt it was time to close their popular Vancouver east-end restaurant “Nick’s Spaghetti House” and retire and on December 21, 2017 they took their restaurant keys to their home.

“I remember saying to Nick, “recalls Pauline, “We have to find something to do now. You don’t boat anymore, you don’t golf, we need something to do and when I suggested we build up our racing stable again, Nick said no, no. But with a little time, he agreed and we now have eight horses in our stable.”

One of them is 3-year-old filly Cypress Park whom they purchased for $19,000 at CTHS Mixed Sale in 2016.

“It’s funny, “says Pauline, “we’ve been going to the races for a long time and had so many nice wins and the last three years things weren’t going so well with the horses,” she concludes. Then she gives an example of how luck can change. “For example, Cypress Park injured herself while training last year and after talking with trainer, Terry (Jordan) he suggested we give her the rest of the year off.

Then Sunday, in her first race back she (Cypress Park) runs this amazing race. What also was wonderful and special is how many people came up to us to tell us happy they were for us. We truly love horse racing and the people involved in it. We’ve always enjoyed going to Hastings because people are always so friendly. What more can one say, it’s just a great place to be.”


IT’S JUSTIFY’S DAY: As with most major sporting events, Saturday’s $1,500,000 Preakness Stakes, which is the second race in the Triple crown, is one worth watching with plenty of people hooting and hollering for their favourite horse. Which for many of you, could be the unbeaten Justify. So what are Justify’s chances to win?

After his dominant two and a half-length victory in the Kentucky Derby in rainy and muddy conditions, Justify is justifiably the 1-2 heavy favorite to take the Preakness.

Veteran mare Touching Promise shown on her way to victory at Hastngs Racecourse. – Patti Tubbs ​

LIVELY BONUS RACE DAY: Monday’s Victoria Day live racing card should be a fan favourite with two major stakes races on the program. The $50,000 Vancouver Sun and $50,000 George Royal Stakes. In the Vancouver Sun, Mr. & Mrs. R. J. Bennett’s Touching Promise (5-1) returns to racing after a year away from the races. Ironically, the last race Touching Promise ran was last years Sun Handicap where she finished second to Mark DeDomenico LLC & NATHC, Dear Lilly. She came out of that race in good shape.” said trainer Barb Heads. “But injured herself in training. So they were going to breed her, but when she began training sound, they decided to let her do what she enjoys doing and that’s race. As for this race, she’s been training well for it.”

Also in this race is Yukon Belle (12-1), also trained by Heads and owned by RNH, if those initials sound familiar, they stand for Edmonton Oiler NHL player Ryan-Nugent Hopkins who is now in Europe playing for Canada in the World Hockey Championship. 

Early Favourite for The Vancouver Sun Stakes is owner Peter Redekop’s  “Alliford Bay” (6-5) recent winner of the $50,000 Brighouse Belles on April 22.

In the co-feature, $50,000 George Royal, Tim Bankers, Blue Law (5-2) coming off an upset in recent $50,000 Swift Thoroughbreds Stakes goes for his third win of the year. Consistent runner Modern (3-1) will be trying to avenge his recent defeat against Blue Law.

NOTES ON A PROGRAM! Recent visitor in the Hastings Jockeys room was apprentice jockey Jose Ascencio riding the stationary exercise horse, he hopes to be back riding in two weeks…The Preakness Stakes can be viewed on Saturday at Hastings Racecourse on all the television monitors with Post Time at 3:38, plus there are seven live races scheduled beginning at 1:50, which should make for an exciting afternoon under bright sunny skies. Live racing resumes on Victoria Day Monday. No Racing Sunday.


Special thanks to Horsemen and Owners at Hastings Racecourse for their valuable support promoting our wonderful sport




Vancouver Island native trainer Dave Cross who won the 1983 Kentucky Derby


JUSTIFY  Langley native John Gunther breeder of favourite Justify favored in the Kentucky Derby. Photo: Coady Photography @ Churchill Downs

 Saturday marks the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and one of the most popular afternoons of horse racing at Hastings Racecourse.
The Kentucky Derby has for years been referred to as the  ‘Run for the Rose.’ The race can be viewed on television monitors throughoutHastings Racecourse. The post time for this race is scheduled for 3:50 p.m. and live racing post time is 1:50 sharp.
Because it is a race restricted to only three-years-olds foaled in 2015, a year when a hefty 25,000-30,000 foals were born, one can see why more often than not, chances of an owner or breeder having a horse racing in the Kentucky Derby could be called almost slim to none.
However, despite those huge odds, there have been a few local Canadians defying the odds.
Alberta-born, John  D. Gunther who calls Langley, B .C. home is considered among the top horse breeders in the sport. He also owns a 350 Acre farm in Versailles, Kentucky under the name of Glenwood Farms.
Gunther is also a person who really loves to racehorses. In the 1970’s along with his B.C. trainer Lance Giesbrecht,  they operated a successful stable at Exhibition Park.
Gunther later moved his operations to Kentucky where he found success with Kimberlite Pipe, who went on to win the 1999 LouisianaDerby, then finishing sixth in that years Kentucky Derby.
This year, Gunther has a pair of runners worth checking out, which were both bred at his Kentucky farm.
Among them is Justify, trained by Bob Baffert, which is unbeaten after three starts and favored at 3-1. Justify starts from post position seven. While the other horse he bred is Vino Rosso, trained by Todd Pletcher and is listed at odds of  21-1. Vino Rosso has drawn post position 18.

Then there is Debbie and Barry Holmes, breeders who operate Phoenix Rising Farms in the Interior of BC. Among horses, they’ve bred is Flameaway whom they later sold privately. Flameaway is 30- 1 and starts from post 4. Despite his long odds, Flameaway  has accumulated $704,834 from five victories.

Connections for Omega Victory include Chloe L’Herault (helper), trainer Julie Wick, jockey Learie Seecharan celebrating Omega Victory wins on Sunday – Photo Patti Tubbs

Last Sunday, there were lots of smiles and congratulations being seen in the local backstretch (stable area) at Hastings Racecourse.
The reason, owner/trainer Julie Wick’s and apprentice jockey Learie Seecharan had teamed up and won the fourth race in 1:16.61, which turned out to be the fastest 6 furlongs of the day.
For Wicks, who is one of the hardest working and caring persons in the business, the victory was enjoyed by everyone.
As far as Seacharan, whose brother Lenny is an identical twin, this was an especially gratifying win.
Wicks admits she has a special way of telling them apart. “They each get on my horses in the morning,” said Wicks. “And to avoid any confusion between them, I’ll ask them both to wear different hat covers on their helmets and it appears to work.”
Also worth noting, when it comes to helping trainers to not be confused, “When I am introduced to trainers.” says Learie “ First, I’ll tell them my name is Learie and Lenny’s my brother, everyone will chuckle and that way they’ll remember our names and faces.’

Aaron Gryder

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Jockey Aaron Gryder has a busy few days, Friday, scheduled to ride the Blaine D. Wright trained, Riser (20-1) in the $200,000 Twin Spire Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. If you cannot recall Riser, he ran third in last years $150,000 B.C. Derby. Gryder then boards a plane and flies back Saturday to Hastings to ride,  He’s the Reason in the featured $50,000 Jim Coleman Province Stakes.…Sunday’s major race is the $50,000 Ross McLeod Stakes that includes unbeaten in three starts, John Morrison trained, Here’s Hannah, who won all her races rather convincingly with  Richard Hamel in the irons.…Local jockey Sahin Civaci rode a winner last weekend aboard Power Corrupt at Turf Paradise in Arizona…Remember it’s a very big weekend of horse racing at Hastings. Parade to post starts at 1:50 p.m