10/19/2016 10:00AM

Hastings sees gains in handle in 2016

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – All-sources and ontrack handle at Hastings both were up at the 2016 meet that concluded Sunday.

All-sources handle for the 53-day meet was $31,509,665, up 5.9 percent from $29,760,483 last year, when the meet had the same number of days. The ontrack number was up marginally to $6,826,077 from $6,707,777 last year.

“I was pleased with the meet,” track general manager Darren MacDonald said. “The handle was up for the second straight year, and our horse population is stabilizing. The incentive measures we’ve instituted to bring new horses here and also keep ones that are here seem to be working. We are planning another paddock sale in the spring. It didn’t hurt that two of the 19 horses sold in last year’s sale became stakes winners. Hopefully, we’ll have more horses for the sale next year.”

One of the horses MacDonald was referring to is Victress, who won the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks. A $3,500 purchase by trainer Rob Gilker and his wife, Victoria, Victress is scheduled to start in the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks on Nov. 23.

Richard Hamel repeated as leading jockey, and Mike Anderson was the leading trainer for the second straight year.

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The 3-year-old filly Snuggles likely will be named the local Horse of the Year at the annual Thoroughbred Awards Dinner at the Newlands Golf and Country Club on Dec. 1. Trained by Dino Condilenios for Swift Thoroughbreds Inc., Snuggles won five stakes at the meet, including the Grade 3 Ballerina for fillies and mares. In her only loss this year, she finished second by a neck to Victress in the B.C. Oaks.

Also at the awards dinner, retired jockey Dave Wilson will be inducted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Joining him will be Vying Victor, the leading sire in British Columbia from 2001-11.

The 2017 meet will begin Sunday, April 16, with the 53-day session concluding Oct. 22.