High winds and steady rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thoroughbred racing fans during the final weekend of the 2016 season at Hastings Racecourse.
With all-sources wagering surpassing $733,000 on Sunday’s 10-race card, the overall handle resulted in over $1.2 million during the closing two-days, leaving management and horsemen in good spirits at the conclusion of the 53-day meet.
“All-sources wagering was up for a second consecutive season and our horse population stabilized considerably,” said Darren MacDonald, General Manager of Hastings Racecourse and Director of B.C. Racing. “Our working relationship with the horsemen is stronger than ever and has most assuredly helped the wagering public with good value for their entertainment dollar.”
Jockeys Amadeo Perez and Denis Araujo capped outstanding seasons Sunday with wins in the last two stake races of the year but when the lights dimmed for a final time it was veteran Richard Hamel standing his ground as proud defending champion.
With one victory Sunday, Hamel completed his mission with 70 trips to the winner’s circle, marking the fourth time the 48-year-old native of Terrace, B.C., has dominated the Leading Jockey standings at Hastings.
Also for a second consecutive year Mike Anderson finished as Leading Trainer with 37 wins, while the Leading Owners title went to Swift Thoroughbreds Inc., with 16 victories. They will all be acknowledged at the annual Thoroughbred Awards Dinner at Newlands Golf and Country Club on Dec. 1.
Araujo, a newcomer to the Hastings jockey colony this year, scored a riding hat-trick Sunday to finish third in the overall standings with 46 wins on the year behind runner-up Antonio Reyes with 62.
Araujo’s ride on Crazy Prophet resulted in an imposing three-and-a-half length victory in the $50,000 BC Cup Classic for trainer John Snow and the Shamrock Racing Stable. Final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:51.14 with Crazy Prophet paying $4.30, $3.00, $2.30.
The favorite was also dominant in the $50,000 BC Cup Distaff, with Touching Promise outlasting Sailingforthesun in the stretch, paying $2.80, $2.30, $2.10. Owned by Russell and Lois Bennett and trained by Barb Heads, Touching Promise finished in a final time of 1:50.49 under Amadeo Perez over the 1 1/8 mile trip for fillies and mares.
The 2017 live racing schedule has been released and is available at www.hastingsracecourse.com. Opening day will be on Sunday, April 16 with the 53-day meet concluding on Sunday, October 22.