01/11/2017 4:36PM

British Columbia Derby tops six-stakes day

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There will be 42 stakes worth a total of $2.65 million at Hastings this year.

The Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby is the highlight of the 53-day meet, which begins April 16 and concludes Oct. 22. The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds anchors six stakes totaling $600,000 on Saturday, Sept. 9. Included on the stakes-rich card are the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks and a couple of $100,000 2-year-old stakes restricted to Canadian-breds – the Jack Diamond Futurity for colts and geldings and Sadie Diamond Futurity for fillies.

“Including the Jack and Sadie Diamond futurities on the Derby/Oaks card will make it a true celebration of the best horses at Hastings this year,” said Darren Macdonald, Hastings general manager.

A major change to the schedule is B.C. Cup Day moving from its traditional spot of the first Monday in August to Oct. 22. Last year, some of the B.C. Cup stakes were open to Washington-breds. This year, all are restricted to horses bred or sired in British Columbia.

The $50,000 B.C. Cup Classic for 3-year-olds and older headlines the four stakes that will make up the bulk of the closing-day card. Two of the races on last year’s B.C. Cup Day card, the $50,000 B.C. Cup Dogwood for 3-year-old fillies and B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay for 3-year-olds, are scheduled for April 30.

Replacing B.C. Cup Day on Aug. 7 is the B.C. Day Festival of Racing, which consists of six open stakes, including the $75,000 Pacific Customs Brokers Classic for 3-year-olds and older and the $75,000 Pacific Brokers Customs Distaff for fillies and mares.

A new addition to the stakes schedule is the $50,000 Spaghetti Mouse for 2-year-olds on July 16. Named after the all-time leading British Columbia-bred money earner, the Spaghetti Mouse is the first stakes for juveniles at the meet.

The inaugural HBPA Claiming Championship is scheduled for Sept. 16 and 17.

The championship consists of 16 claiming races equally divided between 3-year-olds and up colts and geldings and fillies and mares. The four claiming levels are $4,000, $8,000, $16,000, and $25,000. There will be a sprint and route for each price.

The purses for the three lower levels are $25,000. The races for $25,000 claimers are worth $30,000.

To be eligible for the races, a horse must have started twice in 2017 at or below the claiming price of the race he enters. One of the starts must be at Hastings and claimed horses do not need to re-establish eligibility.