It wasn't quite a line dance by the jubilant owners of Chief Know It All because they were strewn all over the winner's circle. But ask the Edmonton invaders if they care.
Chief Know It All survived a heart-stopping finish at Hastings Racecourse Saturday afternoon to capture the 72nd running of the Grade 3 $150,000 BC Derby. As narrow victories go, it was almost a carbon copy repeat of his victory three weeks earlier in the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in Edmonton.
Again with veteran Rico Walcott aboard, Chief Know It All withstood some fierce competition to win the BC Derby by a nose over Trooper John in a final time of 1:51.9 over 1 1/8 miles. This year's Emerald Downs Derby winner and Saturday's favourite Riser finished third after threatening to go gate-to-wire before relinquishing his lead at the final turn and finishing a neck behind Trooper John.
“Going down the backside Riser started to get away,” a breathless Walcott told outrider Bailey Heggie during a televised post-race interview as they were returning to the winner's circle. “I didn't want to be on the inside but had to stay on the rail. With Trooper John coming on strong, I wasn't sure we'd won until the outrider told me.”
Trainer Robertino Diodoro and his Edmonton entourage that included owners Rick and Clayton Wiest as well as Randy Howg from their Rollingson Racing Stable were enjoying a victory dance and posing for pictures in the winner's circle long after Walcott had left for the jock's room.
Chief Know It All paid $9.50, $4.50, $3.60 and increased his career earnings to $317,006. Diodoro and his ownership ‘Happy Gang' claimed the Kentucky-bred for $100,000 at Churchill Downs this past June.
The anticipated Clash of the Queens in the $100,000 BC Oaks for three-year-old fillies did not transpire exactly as expected but the eventual outcome was not a surprise with Hastings' star Daz Lin Dawn winning her seventh consecutive stakes with leading rider Richard Hamel again at the controls.
Daz Lin Dawn and Washington Oaks winner Little Dancer were expected to lock horns in a classic showdown. But it was fellow Hastings runner Yukon Belle with a late charge who lost by a neck to Daz Lin Dawn in a dramatic closing that had the crowd on its feet. Little Dancer finished fourth.
“She wasn't handling the wet track very well,” Hamel said of Daz Lin Dawn in the aftermath. “But her heart is huge to the point where she believes she's unbeatable.”
Daz Lin Dawn's seven-for-seven record this year is also making believers out of her ever-growing fan base. She paid $4.50, $2.90, $2.90 finishing her day's work over 1 1/8 miles in a final time of 1:51.77.
Winning payoffs were much more plentiful in several other stakes featured on the BC Derby/Oaks program. Wise Market, trained by Phil Hall and ridden by Amadeo Perez, went off at 14-1 and won the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity by a half-length over fellow long shot Pan Handle. Wise Market paid $31.00 and runner-up Pan Handle returned $12.60, resulting in a $353.39 Exactor.
In the very next race – the $50,000 SW Randall Plate – Aaron Gryder brought home Highway Boss ($26.90) with Crazy Prophet at 44-1 finishing second. That resulted in a $1,147.40 Exactor.
The $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity for two-year-old fillies provided much smaller numbers on the tote board with favoured Here's Hannah ($2.60) winning by three lengths with relative ease. That was Hamel's first of three victories on the day after closing out the card with a win aboard Notis the Jewell in the $50,000 Delta Colleen for fillies and mares.
Hamel leads the jockey standings with 59 wins.
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