From her perch in the saddle, outrider Vicky Gilker was outwardly sobbing while husband Rob at track level was bravely holding back tears. Victory celebrations sometimes result in such emotions at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Gilkers, owners and trainers of their pet 5-year-old chestnut mare Victress, graced the winner's circle with jockey Amadeo Perez following Monday's 43rd running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Ballerina Stakes for fillies and mares three years old and up.
“It means so much to us,” Rob told post-race interview host Drew Forster. “Now that she's a graded stakes winner, she'll likely be going to the breeding shed. She's had a great career at Hastings.”
Victress, a daughter of Include, maintained her reputation of being a deep closer and won by a neck in the final strides over 1 1/8 miles after Sailingforthesun led from the outset. Victress paid $10, $5.20, $4.30. The winning time was 1:50.38.
For Perez it was one of three riding victories on the Thanksgiving Monday, maintaining his lead in the jockey standings with 52 wins on the season and just two racing days left on the 2018 calendar. Enrique Gonzalez is in the runner-up position with 47 wins and is not mathematically eliminated from the jockey derby but the same cannot be said for Phil Hall's pursuit of his second consecutive leading trainers title.
With Calgary Caper winning the 72nd running of the Grade 3, $100,000 BC Premiers Monday, it was Hall's 38th training win of the year and he took particular pleasure in the victory since he is a co-owner, along with Kim Peacock and Lance Giesbrecht, of the durable 7-year-old gelding by El Corredor.
“He's better now than ever and he was pretty darned good two years ago,” said Giesbrecht, the BC Horse Racing Hall of Famer whose 76 training wins in 1997 still stands as a record at Hastings. Giesbrecht was referring to Calgary Caper being named Champion Older Male Open Division in 2016. With Sahin Civaci in the irons Calgary Caper won by a neck over a fast-closing Brave Nation in a final time of 2:17.47 over an endurance test of 1 3/8 miles. Calgary Caper paid $12.50, $6.10, $4.10.
North American Thoroughbred Horse Company (NATHC) padded its lead in the Leading Owners standings with two wins on the holiday weekend, looking to make it two in a row … Hastings horses were dominant on the weekend at Century Downs with Notice winning the fillies division of the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes and Purple Storm winning the colts and geldings division of the CTHS Sales Stakes. Notice is trained by Mark Cloutier and owned by Ole Nielsen of Canmor Farms; Purple Storm owned by Riversedge Racing Stables, made his debut at Hastings for trainer Craig MacPherson. Thanksgiving Monday the $100,000 Harvest Plate was won by Driller, trained and co-owned by Mel Snow.
The 2018 thoroughbred season winds down next Saturday and Sunday at Hastings Racecourse with 1:50 p.m. starts.
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