On The Clock!

We had lots of workout action on May 29th, as Fast Bid, Warrior’s Promise and Marshall Swindle kept the clockers busy.

Things have slowly been building up at Hastings since the horses could return to training at the start of the month, and this last week saw the resumption of timed workouts. As a key step in getting the horses ready for the return to races, with the exception of our two-year-old, all of our horses have posted at least one workout so far. As the video above Fast Bid and Warrior’s Promise look particularly eager to get back to the races.

Fast Bid has an easy Sunday morning.

We are expecting racing to resume in around a month and seeing our horses in such good condition is a great sign that we’ll hit the ground running as soon as the season begins.

Although we’ve had a lot of interest in the last week, we do still have spaces left, and given the lack of sporting options available at the moment, $300 for membership in the Hastings Racing Club must offer some of the best entertainment value in the whole of Vancouver! If you’re interested in joining the Club for 2020, please just drop us an email at hastingsracingclubs@gmail.com!

Pre Season Training 2.0

Now that we have all of our horses back at the track, excitement about a return to racing has really stepped up a notch. The horses being able to head back out to the oval has had a real “first day of school” feel to it and as Fast Bid shows in the video above, no one is more excited to get back to work than our equine athletes. She stretched her legs over 2 furlongs this morning (Wednesday) and continues to look in good shape.

Square Dancer went for a workout on Sunday under the expert care of jockey Scott Williams. As usual, Dancer would have preferred to continue running until sundown, but still came back to his stall happy after the chance to get the blood pumping. We would be amiss not to give Scott a big Racing Club welcome back. The pair have hit the track together on race day many times and after he missed the second half of last season it was great to see his trademark smile back atop the Racing Club’s stalwart.

On the other end of the experience spectrum, two-year-old Richard’s Command got to tackle the track for the first time. Our newest addition to the Club will be trained by Keith Pedersen, who will be a familiar face to Club members after he trained Shooting Jacket to a clean sweep of the 2018 Marathon Series. Keith reports that the filly has taken to the backstretch as if she has been here all her life. Given the steep learning curve involved in training the younger horses, this is a positive start and we’ll keep checking in as she continues the process of becoming a racehorse.

To sign off, we have a bit of a treat to share with you. Although there has been ample excitement about getting back to the track, we got an interesting look back at what the last month away from Hastings has meant for some of our horses. We received the video below (courtesy of trainer Mark Cloutier who we owe a great deal of thanks to) which shows how some of our horses were keeping in shape in the picturesque Fraser Valley. Most excitingly, this gives us our first chance to see Richard’s Command under saddle and also check in with Marshall Swindle, who is working towards a Hastings Racing Club debut.

Thanks for all the messages from members who are sharing our excitement that the horses are back! We’ll be in touch soon with more updates and in the meantime we may have some “extras” posted to our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages between emails, so if you do use those websites, please give us a follow!

Back To The Track

Bidder enjoys her first morning back at the track!

Industry Update

Firstly, and most importantly we hope that you are all in good health and even better spirits. It has felt like the last two months have taken two years to pass, but as BC “flattens the curve”, good news is starting to appear across society – luckily for us, including at Hastings Racecourse.

It had been announced last week that the backstretch was reopening to horses and over the last few days details of training protocols have been released, which means we were in a position to bring all of our horses back to the track which is underway as we speak. There have also been preliminary indications from the HBPA that a return to racing may be possible in early July. There is no official confirmation of this yet, but we’re all in the need of positive news so wanted to pass things along.

Our Horses

From talking to the trainers (and from the pictures below), they are very happy with the condition the horses are returning in after their farm training. Dancer hit the track for the first time at Hastings on Saturday morning and in typical fashion, was eager to run for as long as galloper Robbie would let him. Even during a pandemic, some things never change. Dancer may work out on Sunday morning, although official timed workouts aren’t scheduled to begin until the end of the month.

Among the horses arriving at the track was Richard’s Command, our two-year-old filly who arrived at Hastings for the first time. Perhaps the least impacted of our horses so far (given the two-year-olds don’t start racing until mid-summer anyway), she is going to be hitting the track on Sunday morning for her first look at the bullring.

This Summer

As it was before the horses moved out, the backstretch is restricted to essential personnel only. This does mean that owners, jockeys agents and guests are not permitted to the backstretch at this time. We know that visiting the backstretch is one of the biggest benefits of the Racing Club, but naturally at this time everyone is all hands on deck, ensuring we do our bit to create an environment where racing can safely resume.

As mentioned above, there are no official plans released for a return to racing yet, however at the Club we are having discussions about how to navigate this year. There is a good chance that when racing resumes, that it is behind closed doors, meaning no spectators are permitted. If this is the case we will put into place as much as we possibly can to keep all of you in the loop. We’re still planning things, but this may take the form of a virtual orientation session and live behind the scenes videos from the track on racedays so even when if you’re watching a race from home, we can still take you into the paddock (and hopefully the winners circle!).

We received a lot of communication from members voicing and offering their support for the industry and the workers at Hastings, which was incredibly touching. As plans for racing are created, we may well be in the situation where Hastings is the only sporting action happening in Vancouver for the foreseeable future. If you have any friends who are feeling the boredom of physical distancing please do let them know about the track and the Racing Club, as it may be the perfect antidote to brighten up someone’s summer.

With the above in mind, if you still need to return your membership agreement/fees please touch base with us as soon as possible at hastingsracingclubs@gmail.com as we are looking to get our membership list firmed up so we know how many spots we have left to offer new members.

Thank You

We will sign off with some special mentions. The last couple of months have been turbulent times for everyone on the backstretch and our deepest thanks go out to the trainers, the horsemen who temporarily lost their jobs, the farms (and all of their staff) for taking our horses in at short notice and those who have been working behind the scenes to get a return to racing framework created. I know we all offer our thanks for them coming back in such good racing shape and most importantly, for keeping them safe.

Finally, but certainly not the least, we have the news to pass along that Nigel is going to be taking a step back from co-managing the Racing Club this year to focus on the many other hats he wears at Hastings. His experience and energy was a big asset last year as we tried to keep the show on the road after Richard’s passing and I know that we all would want to extend our warmest thanks. If anyone would like to touch base with him personally, he provides excellent commentary on BC and international horse racing on Twitter and also has a website https://www.nigelreidracing.com/ where he has all his contact information.