04/11/2013 11:42AM

Hastings ushers in start of Canadian Thoroughbred racing season

Benoit & Associates
Senor Rain will make his first start for trainer Troy Taylor on Saturday at Hastings.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Canadian Thoroughbred racing season begins Saturday, and for the first time in recent memory, Hastings will get the ball rolling.

The eight-race card will be the first of 69 days scheduled for the 2013 meet. Post time for the first of eight races is 1:50 p.m. Pacific.

The biggest day of the meet is Sept. 8, when the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby will headline six stakes that include three $100,000 races – the British Columbia Oaks, Jack Diamond Futurity, and Sadie Diamond Futurity.

B.C. Cup Day, featuring seven stakes races restricted to British Columbia-breds, is set for Aug. 5.

The meet closes with a bang on Oct. 14 with the Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers for 3-year-olds and up, the Grade 3, $100,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares, the $75,000 Ascot Graduation for 2-year-olds, and the $75,000 Fantasy for 2-year-old fillies.

The opening-day feature is a six-furlong allowance sprint for 3-year-olds and up that serves as a prep for the $50,000 George Royal. The race drew eight horses and will feature a matchup between speedsters Dollarwaitnonadime and Senor Rain.

Dollarwaitnonadime, trained by Greg Tracy, is coming off a third-place finish in the $75,000 Bill Thomas Memorial at Sunland Park on March, 24. Fernando Perez rides.

Senor Rain just missed in a $40,000 claiming race at Santa Anita on Feb. 8. He was claimed out of the race and will be making his first start for trainer Troy Taylor. Aaron Gryder rides Senor Rain.

Gryder, whose mounts have earned more than $112 million, is a welcome addition to one of the strongest jockey colonies seen here in years. He will be the first-call rider for Taylor, who has been the leading trainer at Hastings for the last six years.

Scott Williams is planning to ride at Hastings. A journeyman this year, Williams is the leading candidate to pick up the Sovereign Award for top apprentice in Canada in 2012. The Sovereign Awards dinner will be held April 19 at Woodbine. Williams won 100 races while riding mostly at Northlands Park last season.

Amadeo Perez, who was the leading rider at Hastings last year, isn’t riding opening weekend but is expected to be in Vancouver next week. Perez has been delayed due to problems securing his work visa, his agent, Trapper Barroby, said. Perez is a native of Mexico.

Richard Hamel, leading rider here in 2010 and 2011, returns after a successful winter at Turf Paradise.

◗ For the first time, Americans will be able to make 20-cent wagers on the pick four and superfecta. Previously, the minimum base bet was $1.

◗ Anyone buying Daily Racing Form past performances for any track on Saturday at DRF.com can receive past performances for the late pick four at Hastings for free.