Here are a few reasons why Saturday’s $250,000 BC Derby at Hastings Racecourse could rate as a must-do on your weekend entertainment calendar: 

It is a racing extravaganza put on by horsemen and management that along with the BC Derby features the $100,000 BC Oaks, $50,000 Delta Colleen, $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate plus six more competitive races. 

There is huge purse money on the line with winning connections taking home 55 percent of each purse. 

The Derby and Oaks are restricted to three-year-old horses, meaning an owner cannot run the same horse in these races again, although they are eligible in Derbys in other jurisdictions.  In other words, there is no second kick at the can in the BC Derby. 

But a horse with the same name can run in a Derby several years later. It’s rare but it does happen. An example: in 1978 the Jawl brothers from Victoria owned a horse named Five Star General and entered him in the BC Derby that year.  Five Star General won the race for veteran trainer Don Morison and ridden by Andy Smith. Morison remains a regular visitor to Hastings and Smith, now retired,
lives in North Vancouver. 

Among the stellar horses in Saturday’s 74th running of the BC Derby is another Five Star General, owned by North American Thoroughbred Horse Company (NATHC) but no relation to the original horse who
carried that name 41 years ago. 


The present-day Five Star General is coming off a two-length win in the Winston Churchill stakes and is a 5-2 second choice Saturday owned by Glen Todd and ridden by Hastings adopted son Mario Gutierrez, currently making a name for himself in California. 

The nine-horse field includes Explode, owned by Canmor Farms and currently on a four-race winning streak.  His record includes winning the Canadian Derby last month for trainer Mark Cloutier, ridden by Amadeo Perez.  Explode is listed as the 2-1 favourite Saturday. 

The third choice by local handicappers 3-1 is Peter and James Redekop’s Final Jeopardy who ran third in the Canadian Derby.  He’s trained by red hot Phil Hall and will be ridden by Enrique Gonzalez. 


Another race fans should enjoy is the Delta Colleen as Here’s Hannah puts her 11 wins in 12 starts record on the line. Owned by BC Stables, Here’s Hannah is coming off a victory in the BC Cup Distaff and is listed at 6-5.  John Morrison is the trainer with Richard Hamel again getting the call to ride. 

One tough race to handicap is the BC Oaks with Emerald Downs invader Killarney Lass from Sargent Stables hoping to stretch out her speed over the 1 1/8 miles distance for trainer Frank Lucarelli.  Jockey Rigo Sarmiento gets the call for the 3-1 favourite. 

Vancouver owner George Gilbert hopes Summerland can restore her winning ways after tasting defeat in her last two starts after posting six wins in a row. She is trained by Phil Hall and will have Enrique Gonzalez in the saddle at 4-1.

Not to be overlooked is the ever- consistent Sunburst owned by Mr. & Mrs. R.J. Bennett who is coming off a comfortable win in the Hong Kong Jockey stakes.  She is trained by Barbara Heads and will have Antonio Reyes riding at morning line odds of 9-2. 

Nine veteran campaigners do battle in the S.W Randall Plate with He’s The Reason at 5-2 trained by Todd and ridden by Guiterrez. Among his main rivals will be Calgary Caper, owned by Kim Peacock and Lance Giesbrecht with Hall training and Sahin Civaci in the irons at 7-2. 

WORTH SEEING:  Future equine stars have a habit of being discovered at the annual CTHS Yearling and Mixed Sale and this year’s version is set for Thunderbird Show Park in Langley next Tuesday (Sept. 10) starting at 3:00 p.m.





Tonight at Hastings Racecourse jockey James R. Dailey has three rides scheduled. Track regulars know him simply as JR. Not to be mistaken for JR from the old Dallas television series … this guy grew up  ear Exhibition Park and graduated from Templeton High  as part of the Dailey racing family that spans decades. As a youngster, he and his brother Randy followed in the footsteps of their father Jim.

“I rode my first race when I was 14,” recalls Dailey. “I won it but right after the race my horse ran away, jumped a fence and I broke my arm. The next day I went to school with my arm in a sling and suddenly I was the most popular kid around.” After a few good riding years in Vancouver Dailey got the travel bug and began riding thoroughbreds and quarter horses at tracks in Ohio, North Dakota and Kentucky.  And this is where his story becomes different from other jockeys because he also became a popular artist and musician. “I knew my riding skills came from my Dad and also knew there was some artistic blood from my Mom’s side,” he says. “I never thought about becoming an artist until I got hurt. It was while I was lying in bed when I picked up a brush and began painting. “After I recovered from my injuries, I began painting in various jocks rooms. Before long I was selling my artwork.” Today he has pieces of his art from several race tracks including Emerald Downs, Keeneland, Churchill Downs and the HBPA office in Cincinnati.

“Sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle but I still have a knack for it,” Dailey says. “I just finished a painting of Justify for Mike Smith, who got it autographed by many of the other jockeys. I did Sky Classic winning the Queen’s Plate. Angel Corero bought 20 of my paintings.”  As a youngster, JR developed a fascination for music and taught himself how to play the electric guitar. “It sounds crazy,” he says, “but I’ve played with Powder Blues,  opened for Loverboy and played with other cool bands. In fact, I quit riding for five years and started my own group. It’s been a wild ride and now I’m back home visiting my Dad and doing what I love.”

ONE LOOK SAYS IT ALL: It felt like Father’s Day for jockey Ruben Lara last Monday at Hastings when he was able to watch his daughter Michel, 21, ride her first race outside of Mexico City. As they both stood outside the jocks room waiting for the start of the sixth race, with one giant smile Pappa Lara whispered: “I’m so proud of you”. Michel looked back at him and told him how happy she was that this day had finally come with him watching on their special day. Riding Alderglory, Michel was squeezed at the start, breaking from post position three. She managed to gather her thoughts and recovered quickly. Later, when Ruben asked how she felt, Michel said she quickly took hold of Alderglory and he relaxed. Ruben told her she did a good job and both of them walked away smiling. How can one not love the sport of horse racing?

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Two $50,000 CTHS stakes feature tonight’s card that starts at 7 p.m. In the fillies division the field includes unbeaten Infinite Patience and Fully Intent. The two-year-old colts division includes the favourite Capilano Canyon.

WORTH NOTHING: After tonight’s card racing at Hastings takes the weekend off, resuming a week tonight under the lights prior to BC Derby/Oaks Day Saturday, Sept. 7 with an early 12:50 p.m. start.



Dreams Do Come True 


As fans watched G.O. Stables Amorcito standing in the winner’s circle last Monday at Hastings with his trainer Erick Gutierrez proudly at his side, it proved once again how dreams can come true in the sport of horse racing.

Proof you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. Zygos was a gift from trainer Mel Snow to his former assistant Erick Gutierrez. Four Footed Fotos

As a youngster growing up in Mexico City, Erick’s goal was to one day provide his family with a decent life. 

In 2006 he answered a notice placed in several trade newspapers by the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (B.C) looking for grooms to work with horses at then Exhibition Park. 

“He was among the first workers brought into that program,” said trainer Mel Snow.  “He went to work for me and has been with me ever since.  He joined me as a groom and never had a trainers licence but once he passed his test he became an assistant trainer for me.  I did all of his paper work, or helped him with it, so he could get his Permanent Residence papers.”

It didn’t take Gutierrez long fall in love with his new country. 

“Everything was nice here,” he said.  “While in Mexico life was insecure and very dangerous.  I soon called my wife and told her how nice it was in Vancouver and since we didn’t have any children we agreed to have her come here. 

“She eventually made it here and also went to work for Mel Snow and live on his farm.  In 2009 we had a daughter followed by a son in 2011. Both are Canadians.”

In appreciation for his dedication and hard work, Snow gifted Gutierrez with a horse named Zygo.  “She won four races and $30,000 for me, then she was injured and I gave her away.  Zygo just had a foal. Her last baby was Amorcito and with Monday’s win she has two.  We’re very happy.  My kids go to school, my daughter I am proud to say is on the Honour Roll and my son just went into fifth grade.  

“We are so very proud of them and also very proud of ourselves.  We are really blessed with the love Mel has given us and blessed to be living here in Canada.”  Erick won the Annual HBPA Backstretch Award last year for his work with all the backstretch workers who come to the track each year. 

Brother act of Lenny (left) and Learie have identical intentions
of staying – and winning – at Hastings. – Patti Tubbs Photo

BROTHER ACT:  Among the two winners apprentice jockey Learie Seecharan has ridden these past few days it is worth mentioning  his victory aboard Ryan Deyotte’s Run Harvey Run in last Monday’s second race. 

In some way, the youngster from Trinidad would not even be here if not his twin brother Lenny’s obsession with social media.  

“At that time Lenny wasn’t doing well in Alberta and he decided to go on Facebook hoping to find an agent to help him get his career going in Canada,” says Learie.

 Ryan was also searching for a jockey to replace his regular rider Jose Asencio, who’d been injured in a freak accident at Hastings. They agreed to give it a try and a few days later met at the airport and Lenny began riding full-time for his new trainer. 

Not long after, one twin noticed how well the other was doing and Learie arrived from Trinidad. 

And as if horse racing doesn’t offer twists and turns, fellow jockey Jeff Burningham, who had broken his back and collarbone in a race earlier this season, was asked by Learie if he would consider being an agent. 

“My thinking was ‘I’m here anyway so why not?’, says Jeff.  “In the short time we’ve been working together Learie has won a couple of races.  To be honest, he had those mounts already secured so now I’m trying to buld off what he’s accomplished so far.”

In track jargon, it is referred to as looking after each other, which is quite common in the industry. 

NOTES ON A PROGRAM:  Racing resumes tonight (7 p.m.) with the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes (Canadian bred) for fillies including Northern Graystar (6-5) and Flight Data (3-1).  Also, there is the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes (Canadian breds) for males including Weekend Wizard (6-5) and Wise Market (2-1).  No racing Saturday or Sunday but there is another Monday 6 p.m. offering free parking while the PNE Fair is in darkness. 



There is no disputing horse racing is an entertaining and thrilling sport for fans to watch.  But like so many other professional sports where speed is a factor – auto racing and downhill skiing come to mind -there is always a risk factor.

It sometimes makes us wonder why those people involved do what they do.  Since horse racing is a sport yours truly is familiar with, I put the question to several jockeys at Hastings this past week. Some of the answers were surprising.

Counting the spill Alexander Marti suffered last Sunday resulting in a fractured collar bone, at total of seven jockeys have been involved in some form of accident this season.  Fortunately, most of them are either back riding or expecting to return in the near future.

Scott Williams (left) on his last ride before his season-ending injury
Allan de la Plant Photo

Among them is popular Scott Williams,  currently sixth in the leading jockey standings.  He was injured following a race when his horse collapsed from heat exhaustion.  Williams suffered a fracture T-4 vertebra.

“Having been brought up in a racing family,” Williams says, “both my dad and my grandad were jockeys and both were seriously hurt at times. They warned me about the dangers of riding but it’s been my passion and I love it.  I’ve gone down a few times and came back each time; I’ve been knocked out a few times and bounced back. I’ll come back again because it’s my life.  Riding doesn’t feel like a job.  I love what I do.”

Williams is expected to miss the balance of this season and is already looking forward to next year.  During his 30 years in the saddle,  Richard Hamel has ridden 1,650 winners and has won the Leading Rider title an
amazing five times. He’s also been in his share of riding accidents.

“I’ve been through a few,” he says. “I’ve broken my arm, ankle, foot (twice), ribs and have damaged the soft tissue in my hands a couple of times.”

What drives him to return?

“The love of the sport,” says Hamel. “I don’t know what it is, there’s just something about riding these great animals.”

Some of the other injured jockeys this year include Jeff Burningham, who required back surgery; Amadeo Perez (shoulder), Ruben Lara (shoulder), Leo Espinoza and now Marti.

MOVING UP:  Enrique Gonzalez continues to hold down the lead in the jockey standings with 34 wins but he has returned to his native Mexico to attend to family matters and may not return to Hastings this season. Amadeo Perez has been out for a couple of weeks but is due back Friday. His 32 wins have now been matched by a surging Antonio Reyes, three ahead of Hamel.


Phil Hall just keeps adding to his margin as leading trainer with 38 wins heading into this week’s Friday/Monday schedule.

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Peter Redekop Stables recently purchased privately from U.S. sellers three-year-old All Good, winner at Los Alamitos in California and Final Jeopardy, already with $148,250 in earnings in six starts.  Jot down those two names as possible starters in the BC Derby on Sept. 7.

With the annual PNE Fair underway Saturday the horse racing schedule changes to Friday/Monday cards through the balance of August. Monday racing, on PNE dark days so there is no charge for parking, begins at 6 p.m. while Friday Night Live continues with its regular 7 p.m. post time.  


Unsung Heroes 

With this year’s successful BC Cup in the record books, now would be an ideal time to take you behind the scenes to share some of the inner workings of a few trainers who enjoyed that winning feeling.

They are the people who employ grooms, hotwalkers and exercise people, a
long list of workers who hardly ever receive the recognition they deserve.

BARB HEADS,, Four BC Cup Day Wins for Barb – Patti Tubbs Photo

Let’s start with Barb Heads, who continues to enjoy success on BC Cup
Day.  She grew up in a family of horse trainers and it again paid off as
she saddled four winners, including two $50,000 stakes.

“I’m lucky to have a great team working back at the barn,” Barb says.

Every morning they’re up at 4 o’clock and often work into the early afternoon.  Then they return to begin getting the horses race ready. And with so many horses running on BC Cup Day, there isn’t much chance for them to get a break.  Honestly, I’d be lost without them.”

For years the North American Thoroughbred Horse Company (NATHC), owned and trained by Glen Todd, has been a leading stable at Hastings.   On BC Cup Day, Todd had nine horses entered throughout the l0-race card including Five Star General, winner of the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill.

“A schedule is set up for each race day,” Todd says.  “On BC Cup Day
many of our horses were running in back-to-back races, which meant everyone knew their job like who’s taking them to the paddock, back to the barn or to the test barn. It runs like clockwork.  “The success of my stable is because of the people working there, not me.”

Leading trainer Phil Hall ran 10 horses and saddled three winners on BC
Cup Day.  “We’ve done this a few times,” Hall says. “We have a routine
where Sarah (daughter and assistant trainer) is in charge of organizing the
morning workload.

“She’ll mark down on a big board what each horse is scheduled to do then
Brad (Cutherbertson) exercises them and later leads them over to the paddock.  If any group is deserving of being noticed it’s those people who work the barn area.”

TOPSY TURVY:  There was a mild shake-up in some of the leading
standings stats this past weekend. With four wins on BC Cup Day, Antonio Reyes moved into the lead among money earnings with $457,000 while Enrique Gonzalez has $451,700.  Gonzalez has gone home to Mexico following the sudden passing of his father and there hasn’t been any word if he plans to return for the balance of the local season. Reyes big weekend moved him into third place in the leading rider standings with 30 wins behind Gonzalez at 34 and Amadeo Perez at 32.

As for the trainers, Hall continues to dominate with 36 wins followed by
Todd (16) and Mark Cloutier (11).

NATHC remains in the lead in the owners standings with 13 wins, followed
by Peter Redekop with 10 and George Gilbert with nine.

Five Stars for Special Guest Rider Mario Gutierrez – Four-Footed Fotos

RACING ODDITY: Some longtime racing fans might have been left wondering
if they’d seen Five Star General in the winner’s circle many years ago and the
reason for the confusion is because in 1975 another horse by the same name won the BC Derby.

Legendary trainers Don Morison & Troy Taylor (with wife Judy) Recall Five Star General from 1975 – South End Photos

BY CHANCE:  Two legendary trainers – Don Morison, who trained the
original Five Star General and Hall of Famer Troy Taylor – happily posed for a
photo op in the winner’s circle on Monday.  It was a treasured moment.


It was back in 1995 when several members of our local thoroughbred breeding industry got together at Hastings for a ‘think tank’ session on how to improve the marketing of their sport in this Province. 

The idea that came out of that meeting was the thought of a BC Cup special racing day which became more successful than anyone anticipated.  It’s also a great day for a top tier jockey with enough star power to become a free agent for that one afternoon.  Much like BC Derby Day, it is a time when many trainers and riders can throw loyalties out the window and while some egos might get bruised, it’s back to regular business when the special racing day is over.

Monday BC Cup Day returns to Hastings Racecourse with a 10-race program that promises to provide all the excitement and fun of those in the past.  It’s an earlier  post time than normal … 12:50 p.m.

Mario Gutierrez flies in from southern California to be part of the action and his presence alone has caused quite a stir among local racing fans. Mario polished his trade at Hastings under the guidance of Glen Todd and went on to become a two-time Kentucky Derby winner with I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist in 2016.  

He will have five mounts on Monday with horses that have won nearly $50 million as this year’s lineup boasts several former and present champions. 

Here’s Hannah goes for win number 11 in the BC Cup Distaff – Four Footed Fotos

In  the $50,000 Distaff the astonishing Here’s Hannah from BC Stables, the 2018 Horse of the Year, is the early line favourite at 6-5.  Here’s Hannah has won an incredible 10 races in 11 starts, ringing up $292,982 in earnings. Among her rivals on BC Cup Day will be last year’s champion BC-bred Notis the Jewell,
winner of nearly $150,000.  

Summerland favoured in Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes – Four Footed Fotos

Owner George Gilbert sends his almost invincible Summerland to challenge in the $50,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club.  Summerland has won eight out of nine starts and $187,000 in earnings. She’ll be the early favourite against five worthy rivals including the NATHC’s duo of Northern Graystar and Amazon. 

The $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill has a pair of two-year-old champions going up against each other:  Lyn and Dave Pihl’s Dancin Shoes and Dat Day from Canyon Farms. 

Perhaps the most wide-open race will be the $50,000 Derby Bar and Grill BC Cup Classic for veteran runners including Kim Peacock Phil Hall and Lance Giesbrecht’s Calgary Caper as well as J&G Stables’ Don’t Hold Back. 

With over $300,000 up for grabs in purse money and divisional titles on the line, the table is set for a thrilling afternoon. 

RICHARD:  It was on March 22 of this year when the horse racing industry lost veteran horseman Richard Yates to a sudden heart attack. He truly loved being connected to the sport and was a person everyone enjoyed being around. Whether it was a horse racing problem or something personal, you could phone him day or
night and he would there for you. Tonight at 5 p.m. his many friends and admirers will be celebrating Richard’s life with a Memorial in the Marquee Tent. 

One of Richard Yates’ true joys was mentoring the Hastings Racing Clubs – Michael Bye Photo

ON A PROGRAM:  Racing under the lights tonight begins at 7 o’clock and remember Monday’s BC Cup Day starts early at 12:50 p.m.  Hats off to Grooms of the Week Stewart Fisher and Julio Lopez. 

THOUGHT:  The horse racing industry sends condolences to the family of popular and fun-loving standardbred trainer and driver Ray Gemmill, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 89.



 One of the most recognizable names in professional sports throughout North America is Alex McKechnie, the renowned physiotherapist who launched his career many years ago in Vancouver.

 Director of Sports Science and an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors recent; spent some quality tome visiting jockeys and friends at Hastings Racecourse – South End Photos

After having enjoyed the remarkable run this year as the Toronto Raptors director of sports science and assistant coach, McKechnie was making the rounds last week in Vancouver and one of his stops was Hastings Racecourse.

“I live in Ontario during the NBA season but I maintain a home in Vancouver,” he said. “This is where it all started.”

McKechnie was hired by Simon Fraser University in 1974 to work with the varsity soccer team and along the way he developed a passion for horse racing, particularly the jockeys.”

“My appreciation for the jockeys goes back to those days in the early 70’s while I was working in Burnaby,” he says. “I remember one of the riders – think it was Sam Krasner – asked me to help him out when he was having back problems. Soon after there were other jockeys contacting me and the next thing I knew I was at the track working with Mark Walker, Andy Smith and Chris Loseth.”

The jockeys, including myself, referred to him as ‘the guru’.

The treatment McKechnie applied to the riders wasn’t for their mental stability (much to many horseplayers’ dismay) but rather for their physical well-being.

“When they were hurt they still went to work,” he says. “Remember, first and foremost, they are self-employed. They work without contracts and when it comes to recovery time, I’ve seen a few return sooner than expected.  With families to provide for, they don’t have any other options. People don’t realize they are amazing athletes in terrific shape who have balance and control while manipulating horses weighing 1100 pounds.  To me, that’s quite special.”

Chris Loseth one of the most popular jockeys in Canada will be joining professional athletes at Hastings for their Sunday annual Alumni Event

FAMILIAR FACES:  Some of Vancouver’s favourite past athletes return to Hastings Racecourse Sunday for the 3rd annual Sports Alumni Day in support of charities.  Legendary stars from the past from the Canucks, BC Lions, Whitecaps FC and former jockeys will be on hand along with mascots Fin, Spike and Leo and the Lion.

“It’s a fun time for the ex-athletes and the public,” says Hall of Fame jockey Chris Loseth.

NOTES ON A PROGRAM:  Owner George Gilbert is racking up some amazing stats this season at Hastings. In 23 starts his horses have won nine times for a 39.9 per cent win rate and with 19 runners making the board he has an 89 per cent of finishing in the money. “Each year my son Kelly and I attend out-of-town sales looking for young horses,” George says.  “We’ve been lucky with our purchases.”

Groom of the Week is Leona Bourque with Infinite Patience and Freddie Orosco with One Last Hit … Wagering on last week’s Deighton Cup was a noteworthy $920,931 … Racing returns with a Friday Night Live card tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1:50 p.m.



When jockey Jeff Burningham was unseated when his mount Proud Cause clipped heels with another horse in a bizarre racing accident Sunday at Hastings Racecourse, the reaction of many who know him was: “Oh no, not again.”

Despite his recent injury jockey Jeff Burningham stays upbeat at VGH – South End Photos

The veteran rider has had a history of suffering injuries at the track and Sunday was another reminder that mishaps happen not only in horse racing but other sports as well.

“One time following a racing accident a physiotherapist told me I would not only ever ride again but never walk again,” Burningham says.  “I refused to believe it.

“Later, after winning my first race following my recovery, I stopped by his office and gave him a picture of me in the winner’s circle.  To this day I will not accept the limitations put on me.  I’m sharing my thoughts with hopes others in the same situation will never give up hope.”

Burningham was speaking from his bed at Vancouver General Hospital earlier this week after learning his injuries included a broken L3 vertebra, broken shoulder blade, broken ribs and bruised lung.

“I realize because of all the injuries I’ve sustained during my career that people either think I’ve been the victim of bad luck or I’m accident prone,” he continued. “Those are words an athlete doesn’t want to hear.  My thought is that with lots of hard work, my name will be back in the racing program sooner than people think.”

It’s been suggested by doctors it could be a year to a year-and-a-half before he’s ready to ride again.

Burningham is determined to prove them wrong.

A GoFundMe page is being set up by his many friends and co-workers. Further details will be announced soon.

NEXT GENERATION:  Growing up on their parents’ farm in Pitt Meadows, twins Laura and Lisa Anderson shared a goal that one day they would own and train a racehorse. Now 24, their seeing that dream come true.  Last Sunday Laura saddled and won her first race with Ware’s My Jennie owned by her dad John.

All smiles in the winner’s circle at Hastings are the Anderson Family after daughter Laura has her first career victory – Four-Footed Photos

“We got the racing bug when our father bought us a big black thoroughbred named Happy n Bold,” says Lisa.  “That’s when we fell in love with thoroughbreds and began doing horse shows.  We were just starting high school.”

They purchased Ware’s My Jennie from the estate of Dave Dahl.  “We now have eight horses in our barn,” said Lisa.  “If you count the show horses, race horses, pets, senior horses and rescue horses, I guess you could say we are owners of 17 in total. We also made a former race horse named Simplicity a show horse who went on to win many show events.”

Lisa points to a “great support team” and says: “Somehow all the family has found a way to pull together and make it all work.”

HATS OFF:  Grooms of the week:  Geovani Olalde won Saturday’s nod with Wahoo Bill; Sunday’s winner was Ian Jewel with He’s The Reason.

NOTES ON A PROGRAM:  Don’t forget that racing under the lights resumes tonight at 7.  It’s the first of eight consecutive Friday Night Live cards.  The 11th annual Deighton Cup goes Saturday at Hastings with post time 1:50 p.m. There will not be Sunday racing … the Richard Yates Memorial is set for a week tonight – Friday, Aug. 2 – at 5 p.m. in the Marquee Tent at Hastings with dinner to follow.




You won’t see Kerri-Lynn Raven’s name appearing among the leading
trainers at Hastings Racecourse this season but take note that her horses have been making some noise lately.

Hastings trainer Kerri Lynn Raven checks out the blinkers on one of her horses prior to the race. Picture – Alan de la Plante

During the last few race days she has hit the winner’s circle twice and
is slowly gaining momentum.  Kerri-Lynn became familiar with horses while she was taking equestrian classes at Humboldt College in Ontario, which eventually led her to becoming involved in horse racing and working with several thoroughbred trainers.

“At one time I wanted to be a jockey and had ridden in a Powder Puff
Derby to support breast cancer in Alberta,” she says, “but that was a wake-up
call for me.  It wasn’t what I had expected. I really enjoy eating and having to watch my weight wasn’t in my plans. My regular weight is 130 pounds
and I’m happy with that.”

Once that decision was made, Kerri-Lynn went to work for the powerful
Alberta-based Greg Tracy stable and was an assistant trainer for four years.

“After parting company with Greg, I decided to go on my own and decided
to give Hastings a shot,” she says. “I’ve been lucky having owners who love and enjoy all aspects of the business.

“I have a filly for Don Danard and last Sunday won a race with George
Sharp’s Become an Insider.  I met George while racing at Phoenix.”

Raven is excited about her recent purchase of multiple stakes winner Blue
Dancer who has $325,000 in career earnings.

“I began exercising him in 2014 when he won the Alberta Futurity,” she
says. “Now I’m partners with Wayne Oliver and can’t wait to see Blue Dancer run at Hastings.”

Kerri-Lynn is a big believer in teamwork.  “Having people working
with you who love what they do is a big reason for anyone’s success,” she says. “For me, it’s my crew, my owners and good friend Scott Williams who always come by my barn to give me a helping hand.  I couldn’t do it without them.”

KEY WEEKEND:  Three major $50,000 stake races are on the weekend
agenda at Hastings with the Monashee going Saturday prior to Sunday’s Lt.
Governors and Spaghetti Mouse.

BC Stables Here’s Hannah being led to the track by her trainer John Morrison with regular exercise rider Angie Smith in the saddle – Picture South End Photos:

The Monashee for fillies and mares is named after Canmor Farms
outstanding Hall of Fame mare.  The race features a fine field including favored BC Stables Here’s Hannah going for her 10th win in 11 starts, trained by John Morrison and ridden by Richard Hamel.

Speaking of Here’s Hannah, her only exercise person since arriving at
Hastings has been former jockey Angie Smith.  “She’s nice to gallop,” says
Angie. “She can be professional and yet strong-minded at times.”

Second choice on the morning line is George Gilbert’s Good Luck to You
trained by Phil Hall and ridden by Enrique Gonzalez.  Good Luck to You is
coming off a big victory in the $75,000 Shirley Vargo Handicap at Edmonton’s
Century Downs.

The Lt. Governors will be competitive with Peter Redekop’s Apalachee Bay
trained by Phil Hall and ridden by Amadeo Perez going up against second favorite Calgary Caper owned by Hall, Kim Peacock and Lance Giesbrecht.

THEY’RE BACK:  A record field of 100 wiener dogs will be vying for
Top Dog honors this weekend in the 10th annual Wiener Dog Races at Hastings.  There’ll be five qualifying heats Saturday and three Sunday prior to the championship round after the sixth race on the thoroughbred ca rd.

NOTES ON A PROGRAM:  There is a Celebration of Life in honor of the late Mary Cowan scheduled for Monday, July 15, 2019, 1-4 p.m.  at 3530 – 208th Street in Langley.  Mary Cowan was the first female jockey  in Canadian racing history and truly a great person




After years of working in various capacities in horse racing, trainer Ryan Deyotte finally realized the thrill of enjoying the best of both worlds last Monday at Hastings Racecourse.

JT Racing, Wood N Cat Stables and Lumpy Stables, Durdle Door with trainer Ryan Deyotte, ridden by jockey apprentice Learie Seecharan enjoying their victory in the winner’s circle. – Four Footed Photos


Deyotte and partner/assistant trainer Judi Tweedie captured their first victory this season for their small four-horse stable when Durdle Door went wire to wire for owners JT Racing, Wood N Cat Stables and Lumpy Stables.

It was an especially enjoyable win for Deyotte for various reasons. “It was hard to find new owners and even harder to win races with cheap horses so I stepped away from the sport in 2010,” he says. “It was also during that time when I suffered a heart attack.”

He dropped his training plans and worked at various jobs associated with horse racing, including becoming a jockey’s agent.  Eventually he left the Hastings scene and went to work for the City of Burnaby where he remains, while Judi continues her full-time job as a dental assistant

“But our love for horses drew us back and we decided to get involved again,” Deyotte says. “We agreed we’d try to start building a stable and now have four
horses.  We arrive at the barn around 6 a.m., Judi leaves at 9 and I’ll
stay until the work at the barn is finished, then head home for a nap and head
out for my job at 3 p.m.”

He didn’t get much sleep prior to their initial win of the year. “It was actually a weird weekend,” says Ryan. “I’d been working late and when we ran the filly on Monday I hadn’t slept much the last few days.  But this is what Judi and I have
decided to do and you could say we’re living out our dream.”


White House Stables filly Exorbitant, wearing a special blinker on her inside eye, caused by a freak accident as a youngster, shown heading for home with Leo Espinoza guiding her to victory. – Allan de la Plante Photos

White House Stables filly Exorbitant, who lost her left eye in a
freak racing accident as a youngster, showed plenty of grit in winning Monday
for trainer Mary-Anne Baumgartner and jockey Leo Espinoza.  It was
Exorbitant’s second victory in five career starts,

“As a breeder we thought she could run a little,” said Nicole Wylie of White House Stables on Vancouver Island.  “It just proves how much patience plays into horse racing.”

ROLL:  A rarity happened Monday when identical twin jockeys Lenny and
Learie Seecharan scored victories on the same card.  Lenny won on
Ourevelady in the 2nd race and Learie won on Durdle Door in the 7th.

PROGRAM:  Racing fans last weekend got to witness two pretty nice horses
win their assignments rather handily.  Living up to his name, Canmor
Farms’ Explode did exactly that by trouncing his rivals in the $50,000 Chris
Loseth Stakes.  Explode is trained by Mark Cloutier and ridden by Amadeo
Perez. George Gilbert’s monster filly Summerland easily handled her opposition

in the $50,000 Supernaturel.  Asked what’s next for Summerland, trainer
Phil Hall said: “She came out of her race in fine form. Summerland’s next race
could be the $50,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes on BC Cup Day.”

Live racing resumes at Hastings Saturday and Sunday with 1:50 start times.