04/26/2012 12:06PM

Hastings notes: Hensons enjoy warm, profitable winter


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Steve Henson and his son Robbie Henson were part of the Hastings contingent at Turf Paradise. Officially the horses ran under Robbie’s name and he won 10 races from 66 starters. They also shipped a few horses to Santa Anita where running under Steve’s name they had three thirds from nine starters.

“I am happy to be home,” said Steve Henson. “I missed my wife and grandkids. Arizona is nice place to winter but, honestly, I loved California more. California is where racing is at.”

The Hensons work as a team, and though the horses officially ran under Steve’s name in California, most of the time Robbie was in charge of the operation at Santa Anita.

“It was a matter of money,” said Steve. “It is a lot more expensive to race in California. I have more than he does so I was the one that got licensed.”

The elder Henson’s financial situation improved dramatically after he claimed Brass Plate at Turf Paradise for $6,250 on Nov. 27. Since then Brass Plate has won four times and earned over $54,000. In his last start he came from well off the pace to win the $35,000 Wildcat at Turf Paradise going 1 3/8 miles on grass. Henson left Brass Plate at Turf Paradise with trainer James Fey, who is pointing him to the 1 7/8-mile Hasta La Vista May 6.

“He’s coming home after that,” said Henson. “He ran for $5,000 and I was thinking of the marathon series at Hastings when I claimed him. He’s turned into a much better horse than that, so we’ll just have to see where he fits here.”

Benefits of winter racing

Trainer Frank Barroby echoed the sentiments of all the local trainers that spent the winter at Turf Paradise. Included on the list are Monica Russell, Robbie Anderson, Craig MacPherson, Terry Clyde, Mike Anderson, Phil Hall and William La Vanway.
“You aren’t running for very much money but they treat you well and just being in the sunshine every day makes you feel great,” said Barroby.

Barroby won with his first two starters opening day and both paid great prices. Terlani, $17.60, came from well back to win a $25,000 claiming race. R Dubai Girl paid $62.70 when she forced a slow pace and went on to win a bottom-level claiming race.

“I liked them both,” said Barroby. “It really helped that they had raced over the winter while most of the horses they were facing were making their first start of the year.”