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.
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