09/28/2012 1:51PM

Hastings: Trainers start thinking Turf Paradise


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – There are just two weeks left before the Hastings meet ends Oct. 14, and local trainers are making plans for the winter.

Turf Paradise has become the place to go, and there will be a strong contingent from Hastings when that meet opens on Oct. 5. Last year trainer Phil Hall led Hastings-based trainers there with 19 wins for earnings of $146,868. The guaranteed sunshine is just one of the reasons Hall and what seems like half of the Hastings backstretch find Turf Paradise attractive.

“You certainly can’t beat the weather,” said Hall. “Plus, there are a lot more options on where and when you can run your horse compared to Hastings. They run five days a week, and it seems like you can get your horse in the right spots. Here it seems like your either running them too high or too low. Our horses also fit well there, and if you get lucky enough to get a good horse it is just a day trip to Santa Anita. We also have a lot of fun. Every week there is a group from the track that gets together and plays golf. It isn’t a bad way to spend the winter.”

One of the horses Hall is looking forward to running is Racing for Gold. A 3-year-old filly by Finality, she won her debut going 7 1/2 furlongs on the Turf Paradise turf course last November, and she really hasn’t run a bad race since. She is coming off a third-place finish in the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks. If she comes out of her race in the CTHS Sales Stakes Saturday in good shape, Hall said he is planning on pointing her toward the $35,000 Jack Coady Sr. Stakes, a one-mile race on the turf for fillies and mares Nov. 17.

“I am looking forward to getting her back on the grass,” said Hall. “She ran a huge race over it the first time she ran, and we haven’t been able to get her back on grass since. She’s done okay running over dirt here, but she loves the grass and just might be a better horse on turf.”

Hall is also looking for a turf race for The Gov, who forced the fast pace in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby before fading to finish ninth. The Gov won a $30,000 optional maiden claiming race on grass at Turf Paradise last March.

“He came out of the derby in good shape, and we sent him to the farm to freshen him up,” said Hall. “There is a race for him on grass in mid-October.”

Hall is planning on leaving next Friday and will have 10 to 12 horses stabled at Turf Paradise.

“I’ll leave a couple behind and bring them back after the meet is over here,” he said.

Hall is going to have a hard time defending his title as the top Hastings trainer in Arizona. William LaVanway is taking close to 30 horses to Turf Paradise. LaVanway is coming off the best meet he has ever had at Hastings, and he said racing at Turf Paradise last winter was one of the reasons for his success.

“The horses I brought back from Arizona had a lot of bottom,” said LaVanway.

Barbara Heads also figures to make her presence known. She is taking roughly 20 horses. Last year she won 13 races there.

“The people really treat us well, and it is really great for the horses,” she said. “You know you are going to be training on a dry track, and it is a beautiful surface that is kind to horses.”

Heads also has horses who should take to the turf.

“I have quite a few by Finality and they seem to love the grass,” said Heads.

Other trainers who will be racing at Turf Paradise are Jim Brown, Terry Clyde, John Snow, Robbie Anderson, Cindy Krasner, and Steve Henson, who is already there.

Monashee, Todd to be honored

Monashee and Glen Todd were recently voted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame. They will be inducted at the annual Thoroughbred awards dinner, which is being held at the Newlands Golf and Country Club on Nov. 22.

Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Monashee won the Grade 3 British Columbia Oaks and beat older horses in the Grade 3 Ballerina in 2005. In 2006 and 2007 she won 11 straight stakes races. She retired with 18 wins and earnings of $780,490. Monashee was owned by Ole Nielsen.

Todd went into the Hall of Fame under the owner and builder category. Racing under the stable name North American Thoroughbred Horse Company, Todd has been the dominant owner at Hastings for the past five years. His biggest win came in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile with Taylor Said this year.

Todd was also recognized for his work on the B.C. Horse Racing Management Committee. The committee manages and is trying to revitalize the horse racing industry in B.C.