'Pacific Challenge' to Launch This Year

Washington and British Columbia are inaugurating the "Pacific Challenge" this year.

from Emerald Downs and Hastings Racecourse

For the first time, Washington-breds and British Columbia-breds will compete against each other in the BC Cup at Hastings Racecourse and the Washington Cup at Emerald Downs. Three races at each track have been opened to include horses bred in Washington and British Columbia, Canada.

The events—the inaugural “Pacific Challenge”—will be held at Hastings Racecourse Aug. 3, and at Emerald Downs Sept. 13. The races at each venue include a sprint for older horses and distance events for both older horses and older fillies and mares.

“This will make those two days collectively stronger and create a healthy spirit of competition between Washington and British Columbia,” Emerald Downs vice president Jack Hodge Jr. said. “It also provides horsemen with greater opportunities for significant purses.”

Hodge said a point system will be used to determine a winner in the state-versus-province rivalry, but said the main objective is to strengthen the breeding industry in the region. “The strength of the region is good for the overall,” Hodge said.

Twelve horses maximum—six BC-bred and six Washington-bred--will be allowed in each race. However, if less than six Washington-breds are entered in one of the races at Hastings, for example, the field may be rounded out by BC-breds.

Paul Ryneveld, director of racing at Hastings, sees the introduction of the 2009 Pacific Challenge as an important step to the creation of ongoing regional racing in the future.

“Basically, throughout modern history, the Washington-breds and BC-breds have been comparable breeding industries,” Ryneveld said. “This is a start to creating regional competition in the Pacific Northwest. The point system pits Emerald Downs against Hastings in a healthy, competitive spirit that will develop an ongoing rivalry. Also, it gives horsemen two opportunities to run in restricted races.” 
The 2009 Pacific Challenge:

Hastings Racecourse (Aug. 3)

$50,000 BC Cup Sprint, 3-year-olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs
$50,000 BC Cup Distaff, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/8 miles
$100,000 BC Cup Classic, 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/8 miles

Emerald Downs (Sept. 13)

$50,000 Chinook Pass Sprint, 3-year-olds and up, at six furlongs
$50,000 Belle Roberts, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/16 miles
$50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/16 miles