2017 THOROUGHBRED SEASON ENDS
WITH REASONS TO CELEBRATE
Vancouver, B.C. (Oct. 22/17) – Emotions have a habit of running higher than normal when a season winds down in the sporting world and Sunday’s final card of 2017 at Hastings Racecourse was no exception.
The 52-day thoroughbred schedule ended on an obvious high with Phil Hall celebrating his first-ever Leading Trainers title and Richard Hamel capturing two more stakes victories for his third consecutive Leading Jockeys crown. In each case, Hall and Hamel were runaway winners. To put it in racing terms, they went gate-to-wire setting the pace right from opening day last April.
Hall is the son of the late Robert (Bobby) Hall, owner/trainer of the legendary George Royal, heralded as the greatest B.C.-bred ever.
“I’m sure Dad would be proud and I wish he was here to see it,” Phil said from the winner’s circle after his 3-year-old filly Baby’s Got Track was Hall’s 36th training win of the season in the BC Cup Distaff.
Ridden by Silvino Morales, Baby’s Got Track’s final time over 1 1/8 miles was 1:51.53 and paid a handsome $24.70, $12.30, $7.70.
The Distaff was one of four $50,000 stake races on BC Cup Day. Hamel rode two of them to make it 18 stakes victories and 78 wins overall in a season that resulted in his fifth career riding title at Hastings.
Hamel swept both ends of the BC Cup races for 2-year-olds bred in British Columbia or Washington aboard favoured Raider in the Debutante for trainer Greg Tracy and followed it up by winning with Weekend Wizard in the Nursery for trainer Craig MacPherson.
“It’s been an unbelievable year for me,” Hamel said. “It was a lot of hard work and I have so many people to thank for the way things have gone.”
With that, he gave his familiar victory wave to the crowd for a final time in 2017.
The BC Cup Classic headlined the eight-race card and there were more passionate moments in store when the husband and wife training team of John and Tammy Snow embraced after watching their 4-year-old gelding Crazy Prophet rally in the closing stages with Amadeo Perez in the irons. It was the second year in a row Crazy Prophet found himself being pampered with the victory blanket in the Classic.
He finished the 1 1/8 miles in a final time of 1:49.93. “We’ve had a tough year finishing second in the BC Premiers and second in the Randall Plate,” said owner Dave Bennington of Shamrock Racing Stable. “Today we put those behind us and move forward.”
It is a move John Snow said would include shipping Crazy Prophet to California for the winter under the tutelage of Emerald Downs leading trainer Blaine Wright.
With the barns at Hastings about to close for the season, next up will be the annual Thoroughbred Awards Dinner on Nov. 30 at Hard Rock Casino with Phil Hall and Richard Hamel officially celebrating their accomplishments throughout the 2017 season.