02/22/2017 2:16PM

Hastings: Weather delays start of live racing

Hastings has been hit hard by snow this month.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Due to an inordinate amount of snowfall in Vancouver in early February, opening day at Hastings has been moved back one week. The 52-day meet was originally scheduled to begin April 16 but will now start April 23.

“The unpleasant weather we experienced at the start of February resulted in the majority of horses behind in their preseason preparations,” said Darren MacDonald, general manager at Hastings.

The $50,000 Swift Thoroughbred Inaugural and the $50,000 Brighouse Belles for fillies and mares will headline the opening-day card. Impacted by the change in schedule are the $50,000 Vancouver Sun for fillies and mares and the $50,000 George Royal. The Sun has been moved from May 6 to May 13. The George Royal goes from May 7 to May 14.

The second annual Paddock Sale featuring 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age has been moved from April 2 to April 30. The sale will take place 15 minutes after the last race.

“We wanted to give consignors extra time to get their horses ready,” said MacDonald.

Racing secretary Nichelle Milner is optimistic about having enough horses ready for opening day and is looking forward to a strong meet.

“I am seeing a steady influx of horses returning to the track, and we have some of the best trainers in the industry,” she said. “Purses are up 10 percent, and the stall applications are 10 percent higher than last year. All we need is some decent weather.”

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