BC Cup Day at Hastings Racecourse proved to be Antonio Reyes Day. He won five of the nine races carded, including three Stakes, the Marathon and a Maiden Special Weight. Richard Hamel won two stakes as did trainer Philip Hall. Barbara Heads took a stakes race and the long-distance event for BC-breds. A huge crowd turned out for what has long been one of the premier days at Hastings. Monday’s holiday handle was a million-two and change. The on-track handle was 274K.
It was a good day for horses bred in British Columbia. They won three of the six Stakes events as well as both Maiden Special Weight races. Those five wins generated $105,000 in Incentive Awards for owners and breeders of the winning BC-breds.
The British Columbia Cup Hong Kong Jockey Club Handicap: Here’s Hannah
In case anyone was still left wondering about who the top local three-year-old filly is, Here’s Hannah ($4.50) provided a refresher course in who’s best with an emphatic front-running 4-length score in the first of the day’s stakes events, the Hong Kong Jockey Club for three-year-old-fillies. Seventimes Seventy chased Here’s Hannah all the way around to no avail, but not for lack of trying. She was joined briefly from time to time by a couple of the others trying to make their runs at the leader who moved away from any and all challengers with some ease. Tip Toe closed late to be a non-threatening third behind Seventimes Seventy. The mile-and-a-sixteenth was completed in 1:44.51, about two-lengths faster than the older stakes mares would go in the next race. Richard Hamel rode Here’s Hannah and remained undefeated with her in 6 starts.
Here’s Hannah, by Numaany, was bred in British Columbia by B. C. Stables. She is owned by B C Stables and Paul Caravetta. Here’s Hannah has now won six of her seven races, including five stakes victories. John Morrison trains the powerful chestnut who galloped out like a horse that was nowhere near the edge of her distance capability. Being a BC-bred winning a stakes race on BC Cup Day, Here’s Hannah produced a $25,000 Incentive Award for her owners.
The British Columbia Cup Distaff Handicap: Notis the Jewell
Looking like the horse that was Champion Older Mare in BC last year, Notis the Jewell ($9.40) produced the same swooping move that won three stakes in 2017 in taking her second straight Distaff by three widening lengths. Jockey Richard Hamel timed his move perfectly and had more than enough horse to make trading ground for clear running a good move. Good Luck to You saw a three-length advantage in mid-stretch turn into a three-length deficit at the wire as Notis the Jewell went by with gusto. The usually forwardly placed Yukon Belle ran third after closing from last, a tactic she had not employed prior to the Distaff. Final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:45.04. It was the second of consecutive stakes scores for Hamel.
Notis the Jewell, by Stephanotis, was bred in British Columbia by the late Len Fielding. She is owned by Mark Fielding, Larry Fielding, Cherie Moryson and Chris Derose. Larry Fielding trains in what has truly been a family undertaking. The owners will receive a $25,000 Incentive Award for winning a stakes race on BC Cup Day with a BC-bred.
The British Columbia Cup Debutante Handicap: Dancin Shoes
The first-time starter Dancin Shoes ($81.10) laid waste to a field of seven other two-year-old fillies in the Debutante. There were five winners and two Maiden Special Weight placed types in the mix and Dancin Shoes was lightly regarded at 39-1 in her initial outing. Friends, we were real wrong. When rider Antonio Reyes asked the winner to make her move outside the pacesetters after a quickly run first half-mile (21.79, 45.38), it was over. Dancin Shoes opened up daylight immediately over the heavily favored Billie and Honky Tonk Woman, both of whom were making moves that would be plenty good for second and third, but well short of what it would have taken to win. Final time for the 6 ½ furlongs was 1:17.89, seriously fast for a first-time two-year-old filly. It was the second of five on the day for Reyes and the first of his three stakes wins.
Dancin Shoes, by the Unbridled stallion Cross Traffic, was bred in British Columbia by her owners, Mr. and Mrs. David Pihl. To make her debut even more impressive is the fact that she is a June foal, making her three or four months younger than her competitors. Three months is a significant chunk in a two-year-olds life. Barbara Heads trains Dancin Shoes who would appear to have a future. Maybe as competition for Summerland. In any event, Dancin Shoes will furnish her owners with a $25,000 Incentive Award for winning a BC Cup Day stakes race and another 10K for breaking her maiden at the Maiden Special Weight level or above.
The British Columbia Cup Nursery: Ring of Kerry
Leading from the first stride to the last, Ring of Kerry ($26.20) survived what should have been fatal early fractions that featured the fastest first quarter and half-mile of the day (21.57, 45.05) to post a daylight win in the Nursery. Ring of Kerry turned back the prolonged challenge of the odds-on favorite Vintage Man on the final turn and thereafter it was simply a matter of how big the final margin of victory would be. The 6 ½ furlongs went in 1:18.89, a full second slower than the filly Dancin Shoes went two races earlier, but more than good enough for a convincing win in the Nursery. Antonio Reyes was aboard for his fourth win of the day.
Ring of Kerry is a Kentucky bred by Flatter. He is owned by George Gilbert and is trained by Philip Hall.
The British Columbia Cup Classic Handicap: Calgary Caper
When Calgary Caper ($6.20) launched his now familiar move going down the backstretch, it looked a lot like the move he made that carried him to the Winner’s Circle in the 2016 edition of the Classic and it produced an even more decisive win. Coulterberry out closed everybody but the winner to take second. Don’t Hold Me Back battled all the way around to finish third. Neither posed any threat to the winner after rider Sahin Civaci cued Calgary Caper that it was time to go. Civaci and Calgary Caper obviously work well together as they have now won three of four starts, including two stakes wins and a second in the John Longden. Final time for the mile-and-an-eighth was 1:50.36.
Calgary Caper was purchased out of the 2013 June Ocala Breeders Sale by Cecil Peacock for $105,000. He was sent to Woodbine where he broke his maiden, then to Northlands Park in Edmonton where things went wrong to some extent before he won a $12,500 claimer. Cecil Peacock turned him over to his daughter Kim Peacock and her husband Lance Giesbrecht. They teamed up with trainer Philip Hall and under Hall’s care, Calgary Caper ascended to the stakes ranks. Cecil Peacock, a man of innate class, who owned Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek, among many other good horses, passed recently making today’s win all the more meaningful for Kim Peacock and Lance Giesbrecht. They were unable to be at Hastings on Monday except in spirit.
The British Columbia Cup Sir Winston Churchill Derby Trial: Day Raider
Coming into the Sir Winston Churchill Derby Trial, the one certain thing about Day Raider ($18.90) was that he had never stopped coming forward in any of his races. He continued that practice in the Derby Trial with a come from behind effort that saw him moving past longshot El Noble late in the stretch to clear that one by a long length at the wire. El Noble had worn down the pacesetter Apalachee Bay only to see Day Raider deny him the win with a strong late surge. Apalachee Bay held on to third. Final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:44.80. A well-timed ride by Antonio Reyes gave him his fifth win on the card.
Day Raider is a relentless closer who has improved by leaps and bounds in his three starts this season after closing out his two-year-old campaign with a second in the Ascot Graduation as a maiden. The Kentucky bred gelded son of New Year’s Day is owned by Canyon Farms and trained by Craig MacPherson. He should take to either the mile-and-three-eighths offered by the Canadian Derby at Northlands or the mile-and-an-eighth here in the BC Derby. Both might be a bit much as they are two weeks apart.
The British Columbia Cup Marathon: Lucky Ending
Antonio Reyes kept Lucky Ending outside in the clear through a mile in a tepid 1:43.49 before covering the last three-eighths in less than 37 seconds on his way to a decisive win in the Marathon. The entire mile-and-a-three-eighths passed by in 2:20.40. All Under Control followed the winner home to be second and He’s Got Ego got third, but this was Lucky Ending’s race. He is owned by his breeders, Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Bennett. Barbara Heads trains the long-fused BC-bred gelding by Finality.