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Hasting Racecourse ready for opening day

April 13, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

New wagering features, a new mobile website and the introduction of Smart Bet Mobile wagering are just some of the exciting components that will be unveiled with the opening of the Thoroughbred season this weekend at Hastings Racecourse.

“Two balanced and exceptional eight-race cards” is how Director of Racing Paul Ryneveld describes the weekend’s race cards, both of which begin at 1:50 p.m.

The first of 40 stakes races this season is set for Sunday with the $50,000 George Royal, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up that has drawn a full field of 10. Winning Machine, winner of the BC Derby in 2009, is the morning-line favorite. Based at Emerald Downs, Winning Machine is trained by Frank Lucarelli and will be ridden by Leslie Mawing.

Competition is deep in the George Royal, including last year’s BC Cup Sprint winner Don’twaitforme, trained by Rob VanOvershot, and 2011 S.W. Randall Plate winner Crew Leader, trained by Dino Condilenios. Another Condilenios runner, Almost Time, is a multiple stakes winner with a shot at winning on Sunday.

Saturday’s opening day feature is an allowance race for 3-year-olds prepping for the $50,000 Jim Coleman Province Stakes on May 5.

The first 1,000 customers who purchase a live racing program Saturday will receive a coupon entitling them to a complimentary Hastings fleece blanket, one of the hottest giveaway items in track history.

Mutti excited about new technology initiatives

Raj Mutti, Regional General Manager of BC Racing and General Manager at Hastings Racecourse, continues to pursue a younger demographic with a marketing program geared to establish a social environment at the track.

“One of our biggest investments is a new mobile website,” Mutti says. “It will familiarize our novice patrons in making selections based on top trainers, jockeys, and the past performances of horses. It will eliminate some of the intimidation factor for those new to wagering.”

Mutti is also excited about the introduction of Smart Bet Mobile wagering, which allows anyone with a smartphone and a Horseplayer Interactive Account to wager on site.

Lower takeouts another highlight

Takeouts on Daily Double and the Pick-3 wagers have been lowered this season to 15%, which matches the WPS, Pick-4, and Pick-5 takeouts. The Pick-5 wager this year will have a 100% carryover when nobody successfully selects all five winners.

Also, the first race every day this year at Hastings will feature $5 Quinella wagering in place of the Exactor.

Mario Gutierrez getting rave reviews

From to the Los Angeles Times to the DRF, jockey Mario Guttierrez remains in the spotlight after his thrilling victory last weekend aboard I’ll Have Another in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby and his first-ever appearance in the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

What’s even more satisfying to his friends and devoted followers from Hastings Racecourse is the fact Mario has been so engaging to the Vancouver media that has bombarded him with interview requests. “He was absolutely delightful when we caught up to him,” says Rick Cluff, host of CBC Radio’s Early Edition morning show. “You could actually feel the excitement in his voice about going to the Kentucky Derby and he made it clear he wants to share the thrill with everyone in Vancouver.”

Gutierrez was the top apprentice jockey at Hastings Racecourse in 2006 and the leading rider in 2007 and 2008.