02/18/2009 1:00AM

B.C. Cup now a two-state affair


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Significant changes have been made to B.C. Cup Day at Hastings and the Washington Cup card at Emerald Downs this year. Three stakes on each card will be opened up to horses bred in either British Columbia or Washington.

At Hastings on Aug. 3, the $100,000 B.C. Cup Classic Challenge, the $50,000 B.C. Cup Sprint Challenge, and the $50,000 B.C. Cup Distaff Challenge have all been changed to accommodate horses bred in Washington. In 2008 they were restricted to horses bred or owned in B.C.

At Emerald on Sept. 13, the Chinook Pass Sprint, the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, and the Belle Roberts were previously restricted to Washington-breds. All three races are worth $50,000.

"We are hoping to develop a rivalry that we can market in the region," said Paul Ryneveld, director of racing at Hastings. "Plus, it will give horseman two opportunities to run in restricted races."

There are 41 stakes worth a total of $2.8 million on the Hastings schedule that was finalized Wednesday. The meet runs from April 18 through Nov. 8.

B.C. Cup Day traditionally has the largest crowd and handle for the year. Hoping for similar success, Hastings has bundled stakes races on three other days.

The Grade 3 British Columbia Derby on Sept. 27 has had its purse increased by $50,000 to $300,000 and will be supported by two $50,000 stakes. The $100,000 Lt. Governors headlines four stakes on Canada Day, July 1. Five stakes races will be held Sept. 7, including the $50,000 Richmond Derby Trial.

The $125,000 British Columbia Oaks, no longer a graded race, and the $100,000 Delta Colleen will be run Sept. 26. The Colleen purse has been increased $50,000 this year.

The $125,000 Grade 3 Ballerina, for fillies and mares, will be held Oct. 17, and the Grade 3 Premiers, a 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, is scheduled for Oct. 18.