We will reach the half way mark of the 2018 Live Racing season at Hastings this coming Sunday.
Here are our stats after 24 days of the 52 day season.
In total we have run 152 overnight races and 12 stakes races. The overnight payouts including wintering funds is $2,698,149.00 or an average of $17,751.00 per race. The total includes $225,617.00 to BC Bred Bonus, $11,033.00 to 9-12 finishers and $200,000 in incentives programs.
The average daily payout of overnight races is $113,836.00 and the total average payout per day including stakes races is $129,090.00.
The 12 stake races so far have paid out a total of $600,000.00. The breakdown of that number is $406,050.00 from the total purse pool, $20,000 from sponsors and $173,950 from nomination fees.
FRESH HORSE PROGRAM
The fresh horse program which by the way has been extended until September 5th has paid out a total of $41,000.00 so far to sixteen owners.
MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT PROGRAMS
The MSW Program has paid out a total of $45,000 to date. The program pays a total of $10,000 to the winner of a BC Bred in MSW races. The owner and breeder split the $10,000 with each receiving $5000.00. The purse pool pays $7500.00 and Breeders BAP Program pays $2500.00.
So far a total of five 3 year olds and up winners have received the bonus. The last 3 year old and up MSW race will be offered on BC Cup Day. The balance of the season will be Opt/$50,000 Maiden Races for 3 yr & up without the bonus.
Only one 2 year old so far has won a MSW race but the program covers all MSW races for 2 year old BC Breds for the entire 2018 season at Hastings.
AVERAGE STARTERS PER RACE
The total of 164 races to date has had 1140 starters for an average of 6.95 horses per race which I think is remarkable considering we have had only 392 actual horses start. That average is about on par for 2018 compared to 2017.
THE RACING ASSOCIATIONS HAVE ANNOUNCED SEVERAL PROGRAM CONTINUATIONS FOR 2019 AND WORKING ON NEW INCENTIVE PROGRAMS FOR 2019
The most notable change so far for 2019 is the wintering incentive program for horses that make their last start at Hastings in 2018 and don’t race else where over the winter and who have started for a claiming price of $6250.00 or less in their last start of 2018. The Wintering Incentive Program has been increased to $4000.00. The payout out will be $2000.00 on their first start and $1000 for each of the 2nd and 3rd starts. Horse will only be eligible who race the entire 2019 racing season at Hastings Racecourse.
The British Columbia Horse Racing Industry Management Committee met on Thursday morning at the offices of BCLC in Vancouver.
The committee had received several complaints about the track condition, the lack of a odds board and the continuing decay of the backstretch buildings and facilities etc etc.
Patrons, horse owners and trainers had taken to social media sites to expound their frustrations.
If I had a dollar for everyone who questioned me on the Tote Board or lack of, I would be able to buy a good stake horse.
Several patrons and horsemen implied Hastings is now a Ghetto and other choice words.
When the meeting agenda came out on Tuesday, I noticed several of the management team of GCGC were attending the meeting to discuss these very serious issues.
I then reached out to Chairman Jim Lightbody and asked if I could invite the Presidents of our Associations to attend as well. On receiving approval I then asked the three presidents if they would like to attend along with me to hear GCGC answers. Of course all three immediately accepted the invitation and rushed together an Executive Summary and an additional letter for me to present to the Committee as well as GCGC. They are attached below for your reading.
My personal opinion was we received some satisfaction on the tote board and it would be replaced very shortly and a few other items but an overall upgrade is not going to happen in the near future if at all or likely not in my lifetime.
David Milburn and I are meeting with Hastings Management and GCGC senior staff members today to do a walk about on the backstretch to point out the unacceptable conditions.
Stay tuned more to come.
The license for slots came with an obligation to run a six-month season and insure the stability of racing.
GCGC has failed to meet that commitment as evidenced by the decay and disrepair at Hastings.
The breeding sector has suffered greatly due to GCGC’s lack of interest in racing.
The current absence of a functioning totalizator board at Hastings illustrates GCGC’s lack of commitment.
GCGC did nothing to fix the board at Hastings despite knowing it would not work.
The lack of a functioning tote has done significant damage to the Hastings brand.
GCGC insisted the money come out of a fund created to ameliorate the disrepair at Hastings.
GCGC attempted to extract stall rent at Hastings for the 2010 racing season.
In 2012, GCGC proposed a 29-day season at Hastings.
While their stock price soars, GCGC refuses to invest in racing.
Owners of thoroughbreds annually make an investment in the range of 15-20 million dollars.
Short-term agreements and leases must cease. They mitigate against stability.
The thoroughbred associations have created incentives that have increased horse ownership and breeding. However, it will be difficult to succeed with GCGC as the track operator.
The thoroughbred associations request that the HRIMC assist us in finding a new track operator.
FURTHER LETTER PRESENTED TO BCHRIMC
Mr. Glen Todd
British Columbia Horse Racing Industry Management Committee
Dear Mr. Todd:
The thoroughbred industry in BC is being damaged by the ongoing neglect of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), operators of Hastings Racecourse. GCGC made certain commitments when they received the gaming license for the Hastings slots. They included running a 6-month racing season in a manner that would assist and promote the well-being of the industry, including the agricultural component that comprises the breeding sector. All aspects of the industry have suffered under GCGC’s “stewardship”, or more accurately, lack thereof.
GCGC’s disinterest is manifested by a refusal to make the investments necessary for maintaining a facility that has fallen into a state of disrepair. It can be seen in the current situation at Hastings vis a vis the totalizator (tote) board. The tote board has not functioned at all this season to the frequently and emphatically expressed dismay of Hastings patrons who consider it an essential source of information
GCGC knew well in advance the board would not be functional. After learning about it shortly before the season began, the thoroughbred associations asked GCGC to fix it. We were advised that it would cost approximately $140,000 and the money would have to come from a fund that had been created to begin to ameliorate the disrepair brought about by years of neglect. After discussion, GCGC agreed to allow $60,000 in manure disposal money, a charge paid by the horsemen themselves, to be repaid to the fund. The other $80,000 that would have gone into repairs must now be diverted to meet GCGC’s obligations.
This is only the latest example of GCGC’s attempt to take every possible edge in relation to other industry stakeholders. In 2010 they attempted to extract stall rent at Hastings during the racing season. The BC Horse Racing Industry Management Committee (HRIMC) stepped in to overrule the introduction of an extra cost that is customarily borne by the track operator.
In 2012, GCGC proposed a 29-day season for Hastings. The original operating agreement with the City of Vancouver was for 71 days. By 2012 that had been reduced to 54 days. However, GCGC stated that in order to run 54 days, the horsemen would have to pay for the other 25. Twenty-nine days would have been impossible economically for the industry. Further, it would have destroyed the jobs racing provides. The frontside union workers would have been hard hit. Backstretch workers, many of them difficult to place in other situations, would have been decimated. Fortunately, the HRIMC stepped in to insist on a 6-month season.
These instances illustrate certain core issues. However, the larger problem is the day-to-day lack of interest, coupled with an unwillingness to make the investments necessary for any undertaking to succeed.
While GCGC stock prices soar, it refuses to provide the resources that would give the industry a chance to flourish. At the same time, thoroughbred owners annually make an investment in the range of 15-20 million dollars. This is spent on workers, veterinarians, farriers and the purchase of horses and feed from the agricultural sector.
For the industry to advance and continue to provide the jobs and economic activity it generates, changes are required. If GCGC is not committed to the industry, as appears to be the case, another operator should be given the opportunity, along with the financial incentives and structures now available to GCGC.
Short-term operating agreements must cease. The industry and its agricultural component, breeding, require long-term stability. It is not possible to plan or invest on a three-year time frame that becomes two and then one year as the agreement moves forward.
The racing associations have created incentives designed to increase horse ownership and breeding. Despite their best efforts, it will be difficult to succeed without a track operator, a partner, who has a vision for the future and a desire to implement that vision.
The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has made no secret of its view of the thoroughbred industry’ s future. In an article that appeared in the Vancouver Courier on March 9, 2012, the Great Canadian CEO Rod Baker described thoroughbred racing as “sunsetting “. Great Canadian’s corporate policies would appear to be designed to guarantee that this view becomes reality.
Thus, given GCGC’s palpable lack of interest in racing and its refusal to meet its obligation to make reasonable efforts on behalf of the industry, the thoroughbred associations request that the HRIMC assist us in finding an operator who wants to be a part of the thoroughbred industry in this province.
Grant Watson – President – Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (BC Division)
Ole Nielsen- President – BC Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
David Milburn- President – Horsemen’ s Benevolent and Protective Association of BC
Goods news for the 2018 Live Season at Hastings Racecourse the stall applications are ahead of 2017.
Trainers are moving in on a daily basis to prepare their horses for opening day on April 21st.
Last years leading trainer its reported has 45 horses, Craig McPherson has applied for 53 stalls and Craig is currently in Florida preparing a number of his horses in the sunshine state.
Last year’s leading owner, NATHC has 50 horses plus several still in Phoenix at Turf Paradise that will come north by opening day.
Greg Tracy who is currently racing at Charles Town has applied for 39 stalls and Swift Thoroughbreds and Mark Cloutier have 27 horses each.
All and all the horse population looks good for 2018.
HASTING 2018 STAKE BOOK
Hastings Racing Secretary, Nichelle Milner is just putting the finishing touches on the 2018 Stake Book and it should be available shortly.
We should see a number of upgrades around the track as soon as the weather gets a bit brighter. The track and horsemen’s associations have worked together since last fall and have agreed on a number of upgrade projects and we should start seeing some of them shortly.
RACING SURFACE IMPROVEMENTS
We continue to here nothing but positive reports on the track refurbishments that started late last summer and continued over the winter. It’s been reported even with the few days of heavy rain the track was in excellent condition. Yesterday the track was even harrowed and not floated. Now we just have to keep it that way?
My two daughters Shelley and Dana and I made our annual trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. We had a great weekend although I didn’t fair to well at gaming end.
Shelley my oldest daughter arrived home and repacked and headed to Lexington, Kentucky today as she now oversees our breeding operation in Kentucky.
We have several mares due to foal in the next week or so and some are mares we raced here at Hastings. Due soon are Marketway who is in foal to Orb, Mariglianella a full sister to Taylor Said and she is due to drop a foal any minute by Lookin at Lucky, Casinette Dancer is in foal Sky Mesa and is ready to foal as well. We have several others that are due later in the month or early March.
NATHC also bought several yearlings at the Keeneland Sale and Barrett’s with the intention of entering them all in the CTHS Mixed Sale in September. We have bought several very good yearlings over the years at Keeneland and we hope these ones that we are offering for resale are good ones too.
HASTINGS OPENS FOR TRAINING
Reports from trainers who have already moved in is that track which had new material and leveling etc. over the winter is the best its been in many years. That is good news for horsemen.
The track now opens for training at 7:30am and closes at 11:30am and as it gets lighter in the mornings those times will change.
Hastings Racecourse has released several important dates for Horsemen
The Barn area will open for horsemen to set-up their barns on January 29th.
Movement of horses into the barn area will begin on February 1st.
The racing surface will open for training on February 3rd. The track will be open for training Tuesday – Sunday with Monday being a dark day.
Starting on March 6th the clocking crew will be onsite everyday the track is open until the end of the meet.
The starting gate crew opens the gate for schooling on March 15th and will be open to start the season from Thursday – Sunday’s -Times to be announced at a further date.
The first day of live racing is Saturday, April 21st and closing day is set for Sunday, October 14th.
The entire 2018 Live Racing Season can be found at http://www.hastingsracecourse.com/racing-schedule/
Horsemen can find an online stall application at http://www.hastingsracecourse.com/racing-office-for-horsemen/
INSTALLATION OF NEW WAGERING EQUIPMENT UNDERWAY
Hastings Racecourse, Fraser Downs (Element Casino) are installing the lastest and greatest wagering equipment which includes all of the off-track wagering facilities as well.
The track has made a change from Sports Tech who has been the provider for seems like forever and its equipment as well which I personally think came over on the Mayflower. The conversion to American Tote Equipment will hopefully have been completed by the time you read this article or sometime today.
The Derby Bar and Grill certainly welcomed the change as our equipment was down far to often. Hopefully this change over will be a step forward for our customers.
FULL HOUSE AT THE DERBY FOR OPENING DAY AT SANTA ANITA
Boxing Day has been opening of the Winter Meet at Santa Anita for 79 years. The winter meet kicked off with the Grade 11 San Antonio with Giant Expectations at 13-1 defeating 1-5 shot Collected who finished 3rd beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
Next up was the Grade 11 Mathis Brothers Mile and it was won by Bowies Hero for trainer Phil D’Amato and paid $8.80.
The Grade 1 La Brea followed and it was won by Unique Bella who rebounded to win under Mike Smith after her rather poor performance in the Breeders Cup.
The final Grade 1 of the day which went as the 8th race which is for horses on the road the Kentucky Derby was won by City of Light for trainer Michael McCarthy by two lengths and paid $17.00 for the win.
All and all it was a great start for opening day at the Great Race Place.
LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS MEET TODAY ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES LEADING UP TO OPENING DAY AT HASTINGS RACECOURSE
The three racing Associations, CTHS, HBPA & BCTOBA meet today along with management of Hastings Racecourse to discuss a number of issues as the 2018 Live Racing Season is not that far off.
The group will discuss the 2018 Purse Pool and Stake Schedule along with a number of other related topics.
We will report more on that meeting in Friday’s Newsletter: Stay Tuned
The twelve day marathon of mixed horses ended Saturday with several local owners and breeders purchasing broomares and future prospects.
Ed Dittloff and family purchased their second broodmare in foal last Thursday when they signed the sales slip for Hip# 3345 for $18,000.00. They purchased a 3 year old filly by Friesan Fire out of the Vee Vee Star. The filly is a half sister to the Gr1 winner Declan’s Moon and is in foal to Bayern.
Bayern by the way a freshman sire sold several weanlings in the sale and they sold very well.
HASTINGS PADDOCK SALE ANNOUNCED
The group of Hastings Racecourse, HBPA and BCTOBA have announced the Spring Paddock Sale of horses of racing age.
The preview day will be Saturday, April 7th and the sale on April 14th.
Consignment Forms will be available online early in the new year.
HASTINGS 2018 LIVE RACING DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY
Look for Hastings Racecourse 2018 racing dates to be announced very shortly. I’m led to believe opening day will be Saturday, April 21st. We will publish the schedule once we receive the official announcement.
BCHRIMC MEETS TOMORROW
The British Columbia Horse Racing Industry Management Committee meets tomorrow in Vancouver.
The preliminary budget for 2018 will be discussed and as soon as its accepted by the committee the associations will be able to discuss distribution of the funds for 2018.
Once that is done purse pools and stakes pool can be finalized for 2018.
I think our share of the pool will be less then in 2017 but I hope I’m wrong.
Tod Mountain Thoroughbreds have bought two broodmares so far in the Keeneland, November Mixed Sale.
They purchased Vandelita in foal to the very hot sire Violence. The mare is by Street Sense out of the mare Naughty Mambo. The purchase price was $85,000.00
They also bought the mare out of a half sister to 2016 BC Derby Winner, Sorryaboutnothing for $35,000.00. The mares name is ALLITERATION who is in foal to Twirling Candy. She is by Congrats out of the mare Royal Card.
The long time British Columbia breeders, Mr & Mrs. Ed Dittloff and K. Dittloff purchased the 5 year old mare Amarachi for $13,000.00.
The mare is in foal to Wicked Strong and is by Northern Afleet out of the mare Miss Holiday Inn.