Raising The Stakes

As we learned yesterday from Patty Leaney, Warrior’s Promise was nominated to The Ross McLeod on opening day. We are going to provide an early preview of the race and then an overview of how horses end up loading into the gate for Stakes races.

The 10 nominees for the first challenge for the top 3 year old fillies.

Early Preview

As we will learn below, there is no guarantee that all 10 nominees will end up running next Saturday, however we do know the potential rivals to the $50,000 purse.

Leading the local nominations are SUMMERLAND and DANCIN’ SHOES. Anyone who followed the 2018 season will need no introduction to these two who ran 1st and 2nd in the Fantasy Stakes and may have been the best 2 year olds at Hastings of either sex. There are no surprises these 2 names are on the nomination list and any form of improvement over the winter will only cement these as very formidable foes.

Stiff Competition: 2018 2 Year Old of the Year Summerland looks to continue her sparkling career in start #1 of the year.

A new face will be IM EVIN IM LEAVIN who (should she run) will make her first start at Hastings. Many keen handicappers place a large premium on horses who have ran down south during our off-season and Im Evin Im Leavin holds a pair of allowance wins already in 2019 down at Sunland Park (winning those 2 races by a combined 8 lengths). Finishing only 3 lengths behind Summerland in the 2018 Freedom of the City Stakes in Calgary, the fitness edge from her winter racing may be enough to earn her first Stakes win.

NOTICE earned almost $80,000 in 2018, picking up a couple of wins in CTHS Sales stakes in 2018 and held on for second during Dancin’ Shoes’ romp in the Sadie Diamond Futurity earning almost $80,000 for the season. She deployed a front running style with devastating effect in both her CTHS wins but this may be tougher to replicate with the larger and more accomplished field that the Ross McLeod will hold.

A few of the remaining horses shook off their maiden condition, but either haven’t made an impact at or stepped up to the Stakes level yet.:

  • GMT BABY and GIFTED GREY both won their first race early in the year at Hastings and struggled to make the same impact in the Stakes races they entered.
  • ONE FOR MOM fired in a Maiden Special Weight first time out and finished third in a competitive Allowance race ran on the same day the BC Breds were fighting for the Sadie Diamond Futurity.
  • MRS TAYLOR made her only 3 starts down the I-5 at Emerald Downs winning a Maiden Special Weight at the 3rd time of asking with a stretch run that put her 6+ lengths ahead of her rivals.

The remaining challenger (and the only maiden other than our Club II filly) is SUZY MASCARA – still somewhat of an unknown quantity. Making only one start at 2 in the Sadie Diamond Futurity she hopped out of the gate and trailed early. As the race progressed she settled, picked off a few of her more experienced rivals to finish 5th, showing a glimpse of what had given her connections the confidence to enter her in such a challenging first race.

And so, the million dollar question – where does our girl, WARRIOR’S PROMISE fit into this group? Although she hasn’t earned her first win yet, her 2 seconds in Maiden Special Weight company were encouraging. She also showed potential at this level in her 4th place BC Cup Debutante showing, finishing better above Saturday’s potential foes Notice and GMT Baby. More importantly, she has had a good month of training and after an encouraging series of workouts has earned the right to test herself against the upper levels of her division. Under the conditions of the race Warrior’s Promise would also be carrying less weight than some of her rivals – another potential aid to bridge the gap between her and the top contenders.

The first 3 year old races of the season are always a lesson that picking an eventual Derby or Oaks winner in the pre-season is more of a lottery than a science. We’ll be crossing our fingers along with all the Club Members that we’ve got the lucky ticket!

UPDATE 01/05/2019 – The entries were just announced and Warrior’s Promise will be coming out of Gate 3, with the reigning 2 year old champion Summerland to the inside of her in Gate 2. There were 8 horses entered for the race (Suzy Mascara opted for a Maiden Special Weight on Sunday and Gifted Grey isn’t running at all this weekend) with all of the nominated heavyweights still in contention. Good luck WP and we’ll see all you Racing Club members on Saturday!

Getting to the Gate

One club member asked us a good question on Twitter – does this nomination mean that our filly is 100% in? The answer is best explained by looking at the process you go through to enter a stakes race. As the nomination list at the top of this post shows, there are multiple steps to get into the gate:

  • Nomination. In the case of the this race, the connections of all 10 horses have paid $100 to get onto this initial list. On Saturday morning most (if not all) would have been hoping to have their horse run on Opening Day. That said, dealing with wonderfully imperfect athletes like thoroughbred racehorses, small physical setbacks can sometimes occur between nomination time (Saturday) and entry time (Wednesday) resulting in a horse not being entered. A further consideration is that a horse’s connections may nominate a horse who may not be a favourite with the intention of seeing how strong the race is and then deciding whether it is worth entering their horse in.
  • Entry. Once you’ve decided all things are a-go, another $750 goes in to the office to enter your horse. Entries for weekend races at Hastings happen on Wednesdays. Given the extra money being handed over, trainers will be fully expecting their horse to start the race. At this point you have your gate positions drawn and can start getting excited, pacing your living rooms and waiting for the good folks at Handicappers Corner to release their race preview and tell you exactly what chance they think your horse has.
  • To start. You’ve made it! A final $1,000 payment to finish filling up the purse (which is set at $50,000) and you can enter the gate and roll the dice. A swift 2 minutes will then decide if you have a story of a lifetime repeat to your friends until they stop taking your calls or are shooting your “winners photo” in the shedrow while feeding your charge some consolation mints.

Meeting and Greeting the 2019 Season

The beautiful conditions at Hastings were only matched by the strong turnout for our orientation session.

We are officially into the home straight of pre-season 2019 with only 7 days remaining until racing begins. The Opening Day extravaganza will feature the Kentucky Derby on the big screen, a handful of opening day goodies and most importantly a return to racing action for the club horses.

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the track this morning. There were plenty in attendance, eager to hear some updates about their horses for the upcoming season. We had the 3 trainers on hand to talk about their respective horses and answer questions from the clubbers.

Square Dancer

“To be honest Dancer trains himself” – Steve Henson

Steve Henson reported back to the members much of the same news that we have become accustomed to. Square Dancer is happy, loving his work and getting ready for the new season. He had his second workout of the season that morning posting the quickest time of the 13 horses who travelled 4 furlongs.

As we’ve learned over the years, sprinting isn’t Dancer’s forte so he will be aimed towards a route race as soon as a suitable one is on offer (likely at the end of May/early June).

Shooting Jacket/Star Launch

Ready to launch!

Keith Pedersen reported back that Star Launch worked 6 furlongs that morning and was ready to go for the race season. It wasn’t the fastest workout time however she looked bright early on in her work and she will definitely enjoy the fitness boost going 6 furlongs for the first time will give her. Keith is hoping that a suitable race will be available for her on opening day.

Shooting Jacket had a very minor setback is just finishing off a stay at the farm (the best place for a horse to have some rest when not actively working out). He should be back working out soon and given his heroics in the Marathon Series last year everyone in Club 1 will be hoping he still has some of his long-distance magic yet to come. Like Dancer, his best days of the year are in the height of summer and in the fall when the longest races of the year are ran, so the slight delay to the start of his season is no need to panic. The 2019 Marathon series kicks off in late August and will again offer higher purses than you would usually get for that level of regular claiming race.

Warrior’s Promise

Last, but not least, we got an update from the ever busy Patty Leaney who jumped off the back of one of her horses to run over to join us for the orientation meeting. Warrior’s Promise had put in a final pre-season work on Wednesday and came out of it well.

Patty reported that the filly has been training very well and as such has been nominated to The Ross McLeod – a stakes race for 3 year old fillies. It promises to be a very tough group of 3 year old fillies, however Patty is certain that WP has earned her chance to run against the best that division has to offer. Nominations for that race must be in by the end of today (April 27th) and we’ll be having a look at her potential challengers over the next couple of days when nominations are declared.

Warrior’s Promise: opening day Stakes hopeful and reigning 2018 hide and seek champion.


Outside of horse updates, Mike Heads kindly offered up some of his time to speak a little about the racing clubs and help walk through the condition book for opening day, teaching Club Members how to digest the myriad of information that comes with each race. A lot of the attendees scoured through their condition book print out, so we’ll do a blog post on this topic over the next few weeks so any wannabe trainers can learn a little bit more. Steve Henson even kindly offered to volunteer Keith Pedersen’s personal cell phone number so that club members can call him any time of the day or night to play “backseat trainer”. Keith declined further comment and may or may not be in the process of cancelling his phone plan.

Club Members also got an update on how the clubs will be ran this year and what Mark, Matt and Nigel (the three amigos trying to fill Richard’s many shoes and hats) have started working on. The members were thanked for their patience during the setup process over the last month and were all informed about the new website and social media outlets (Twitter and Instagram) available to share club news. There are also early plans to try and provide some extra benefits and events to club members. Of particular interest we would like to further foster ties with the BC Breeders who the clubs have supported with the purchases of Catch Twenty One and Star Launch and the retired racehorse adoption agency, New Stride. The search for a second horse for Club 2 is still in progress and members were again thanked for their patience while this process is completed.

Lastly, but obviously not least, a member asked for updates and offered suggestions regarding remembrance plans for our dearly departed club manager, Richard Yates. There are a few things underway which will happen during the racing season and we’ll make sure that all club members are kept well informed.

Roll on Opening Day!

Mike Heads leads a talk in how to decode the mysterious language contained within a condition book.

Orientation Session – April 27th

We’re saddlin’ up for the new season! The Club orientation session will be Saturday 27th April at Noon in the grandstand. Whether you have burning questions for the trainers or just want an excuse to feed your favourite club horse some mints, we hope you can join us!

Club members should have already received an e-RSVP in their email inboxes. If you are a member and haven’t received anything please drop us a line at hastingsracingclubs@gmail.com

Workout Wrap-Up – April 18th-20th

If not for the snow induced 2 week delay it would have been a gloriously sunny opening day at Hastings on Saturday. The good weather did however, offer a chance for club members to get trackside and see some workouts as our horses get ready for the new season.

We are now under 2 weeks from the start of the season and with any luck the cold days of winter will soon seem a distant memory as we share some sunny Saturday and Sunday afternoons cheering home the club horses!

Square Dancer

Dancer showing no signs of tiredness after his 3 furlong workout.

Square Dancer was the main attraction on Saturday morning (as he has become accustomed to over the last several years). Posting his first timed workout of the year, Dancer went 3 furlongs in 38:20. Galloping out very nicely (video below) he appeared annoyed that he wasn’t asked for an extra mile and came off the track with all the energy you would expect from a horse half his age.

Returning club members will know that Dancer is a horse who enjoys his races as long as possible, so there should be no concern that his first work was later than some others at Hastings. He has been at the track for over a month, enjoying his morning jogs and will look towards some of the first route races (where he excels).

Clubbers who eagerly digest the condition books will know that Hastings only offers 6 and 6 1/2 furlong races for the first few weekends. (Jargon Buster: the condition book is a listing of all the races planning to be offered at the track. Literally named due to the conditions attached to each race, it determines the distance of each race and restricts entries by the sex, age and ability of the horse).

Warrior’s Promise

The Club II filly once again tackled the morning mud on Thursday April 18th and put another bullet against her workout times.

Travelling 5 furlong in 1 minute flat, she has prompted a few club members to get excited about her potential this season. Although it is an incredibly tough looking division, an opening day entry into the Brighouse Belles is a distinct possibility with how forwardly she is training.

While positive morning workout times should always be taken with a liberal dose of salt, she has provided good reason to be optimistic. Given that the summers in Vancouver can feel distinctly Amazonian, the most encouraging aspect of her workouts must be that she appears to be eager to run over a range of track conditions.

Star Launch

Last (but not least) the Club I filly, Star Launch had a Saturday morning workout covering the same 5 furlongs that Warriors Promise travelled.

A slight improvement on her time from a week prior, she stopped the clock at 1:04:40.

And finally…

As many racehorse owners do, a lot of Hastings Racing Club members keep a keen eye on our former horses. Club I filly Is It Gold has travelled around a bit since her time on the West Coast in 2017. Since being claimed from the club she has raced in Arizona, Minnesota and Alberta – picking up 2 wins and hitting the board multiple times.

Our former girl (now a 5 year old) is now in training in Winnipeg and just posted her first 3 furlong workout at Assiniboia Downs. Good luck to her and connections!

Is It Gold in the Steve Henson barn during her stay in Vancouver.

New Stride – Catch Twenty One

As all of our regular club members will know, Club I’s first CTHSBC Sale Purchase, Catch Twenty One was retired as a 4 year old in 2017. New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society included some information about his retraining and successful rehoming in their March 2019 e-newsletter. For any clubbers looking for updates about any of the retired Hastings horses they can sign up for their periodic eNewsletters here.

We will be looking to get members a progress update from Catch later in the year and learn a little bit more about the retired racehorse retraining process.

We’ve copied some of their March publication below:

New Stride eNewsletter – March 2019


Catch Twenty One
When “Catch Twenty One” finished his racing career at Hastings Racecourse, we were thrilled when he was donated to New Stride for retraining and rehoming. The flashy young gelding was raced by Hastings Racing Club 1 over two seasons and became a favourite of the almost 300 club members.

“Catch” (also known as “Sunny”) began a more focused program at our foster farm and we were even more delighted when the foster farm operator and his family decided to apply to adopt Catch for themselves! Catch is all settled into his new home, and we’ll look forward to hearing more about his new life and career involving dressage, show jumping and cross country jumping. Eventing is a perfect sport for former racehorses since it requires speed, stamina and bravery to do well.

And to top it all off, he’s been featured in Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine’s March issue – here (subscription required).

Catch Twenty One getting some affection in his new home.

Time to Scoot
Our lovely Cecil has just been adopted! He’s going to rider Mareesa who will work to train him as an event horse. Cecil is off to an acreage in Mission and will have ample turn out and equine friends. We will miss you Super Cecil but you’ve got a very bright future ahead!

Where is New Stride?
Our family of horses can now be found at Murray Creek Ranch where they’re frolicking, playing and of course training! Everyone is settling in nicely.

Fundraising Updates – Thank You!
On behalf of the full New Stride team, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the generous donors who contributed to our cause as we wrapped up 2018.

And happy to share that New Stride is a grant recipient of the Mary Victoria Wakefield Animal Welfare Fund. This fund is named for Mary Victoria Wakefield and was set up to honour her love of animals and her devotion to their care and we couldn’t be more thankful.

Finally, we have also been approved for a Wild Field Scholarship that will grant a spot for one of our horses in a future Jonathan Field Course 1 clinic…more to come!

New Stride is looking for people who are passionate about horses, can help with grooming and organizing the barn, and can support as handlers for ground work. We’re also in need of riders (with extensive horse experience, currently riding a minimum of 3x weekly) to join our training team, and we’ll provide the training at no cost! Our gang of horses now resides at Twin Creeks Ranch in Aldergrove, so if interested, please visit our website and fill out an application. We look forward to having you!

Spread the Word
Help us expand our network of subscribers to be able to share our good news and updates far and wide. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family, colleagues, and encourage them to get in touch and get involved. And for more, visit our website and Facebook page!

Donate Now
New Stride depends almost exclusively on the generosity of people like you – compassionate individuals who care deeply about finding new homes and careers for Thoroughbred horses.

  • To make a gift online, please click here 
  • To make a gift by mail, cheques should be made payable to New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society and mailed to:
    • New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society
      PO Box 10020 RPO Otter Co-Op
      Langley, BC V4W 3Z5  
  • To make a gift by phone, contact the New Stride office at 778-985-5673 to make your donation

Every little bit helps to take care of these majestic animals that capture our hearts so easily! Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 and greater.

Warrior’s Promise Workout – April 12th, 2019

We have liftoff! Warrior’s Promise taking flight during morning training on April 12th

Just a quick update for club members today – Club II’s 3 year old filly, Warrior’s Promise made use of the break in the rain on Friday to post her second timed 4 furlong workout. One of the first out on track at 6:30am she posted another sharp time, navigating the distance in 47.40 over a wet fast track. We had the crew out track side this morning so have the video below to share with everyone.

Club Horse Notifications

As our seasoned veteran club members will know, there are a few ways to get immediate news about the Club horses ranging from workout to race entry notifications.

For of our newer members who aren’t aware – Equibase.com has an excellent free tool called Virtual Stable that you can sign for. Once registered you can flag individual horses as ones to follow and receive email notifications from them.

Workout Wrap-Up – April 6th-7th

Welcome to our first pre-season check in with the backstretch. We’ll be looking to bring club members closer to the action throughout pre-season training and the racing year.

Despite the conditions not being as enjoyable as they have been for the last couple of weekends, both of the Hastings Racing Clubs had their youngsters continue their preparation for the beginning of the racing season – now under a month away!

Star Launch

The 3 year old filly continued her pre-season with a second 4 furlong outing of the season. Despite intervals of rain and a sloppy track underfoot she managed to Shrug off (*) the challenging conditions for the day and put in a strong showing.

(*) While we make no apologies for the low hanging fruit of jokes relating to her sire, we shall endeavour to limit usage to once per month.

Star Launch with jockey Romario Saunders, who defied the conditions with the same gusto she did wearing a bold white jacket that stayed miraculously clean.

Trainer Keith Pedersen spoke encouragingly of her effort after she’d settled back into her stall following her 7am workout. Under the guidance of Romario Saunders, Star Launch posted a time of 51.20 working by herself over 4 furlongs.

Although she ranked a respectable 16th out of 26 workers for the distance, the video below of her galloping-out after her workout should provide some further encouragement for “Club Won” members. We will try to get some more photos and videos of preseason training over the next few weeks (and should any club members collect any, we’d love to share them if you send them to us at hastingsracingclubs@gmail.com).

Any concern that the shakiness of the video below is a reflection of the Clubs’ videographic limitations can safely be discarded – it was merely an artistic representation of what was a relatively shivery Sunday morning (and we’ll try to use a tripod going forwards!).

Warrior’s Promise

Although the Hastings Racing Club media department missed the 7am workout time on Saturday, Warrior’s Promise was alive and alert, posting her third consecutive bullet workout (jargon buster: a bullet workout is the fastest workout posted by any horse over tha distance for the day, earning a black “bullet point” in the racing form book next to their workout time).

Navigating a muddy Hastings track, the daughter of Warrior’s Reward stopped the clock at 47.60 on a day which saw 32 runners travel the same 4 furlongs.

Checking in with the filly this morning, she came out of her workout well and was full of beans – relishing all of the attention that an impromptu photoshoot brings. Special thanks to Patti Leaney for taking a few minutes out of her busy morning schedule to show her off.

A New Era Dawns

As many of the Hastings Racing Club members will now be aware, Richard Yates, our good friend and the driving force behind the Hastings Racing Clubs, sadly passed away on March 22nd, 2019. Richard devoted large amounts of his life dedicated to the British Columbia and North American racing industry and his presence will be sorely missed.

As those of you who are subscribed to the Derby Bar and Grill newsletter will be aware, there will be plans made for a memorial during the racing season so everyone will have a chance to pay their respects.

Filling Richard’s shoes is a daunting task but, with an exciting new season fast approaching, and Hastings Racing Club horses already showing some moves during morning training, we feel certain that Richard would be the first to say: “The show must go on!”

To that end, we want to build on Richard’s legacy by adding greater engagement opportunities for Hastings Racing Club members ahead of the 2019 season. We have a new club email address which can be used to correspond with us regarding club items – hastingsracingclubs@gmail.com – and we’ve also added Twitter and Instagram platforms to make joining in the fun of racing at Hastings easier than ever before!

So don’t forget to give us a like or a follow and let all of your friends know about the Clubs!

We’ll also be updating this site as regularly as possible throughout the season and we’d love to hear your ideas as to how we can continue Richard’s fine work.

Remember, the racing season begins at Hastings on May 4th  – Kentucky Derby Day! So, we hope to see you at the track throughout what promises to be another pulsating six months of racing action for the Hastings Racings Clubs.

Email: hastingsracingclubs@gmail.com

Website: https://hastingsracingclubs.home.blog/

Twitter: @HSTRacingClubs

Instagram: hastingsracingclubs