THE BIG DAY IS HERE
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.