Hastings has been lobbying for permission to install slot machines as early as next summer. In July the Vancouver city council voted to lift its ban on slots. On Wednesday the council will vote specifically on whether to move to the public comment period on a measure to install as many as 900 slot machines at Hastings Park. On Tuesday, as many as 100 horsemen, including trainers and jockeys, plus Hastings employees, participated in a rally in support of the measure.
Hastings Park recently concluded its 2004 meet with a minor dip in on-track handle figures, and an 8.5% drop in all-source handle. This year the track offered eight less days of racing, but increased both the total purse pool, and the daily purse average. Hastings' on-track handle totaled $18,822,269, which reflects nearly a 1% drop from the 2002 figure of $19,009,365. The total handle this year dropped to $41,659,929 from last year's figure of $45,532,611. Average daily purses increased from just over $100,000 (US funds) last year to $122,732 at the recent meet. For the second year in a row jockey Pedro Alvarado took the riding title, and trainer Dino Condilenios toppled longtime leading trainer Harold Barroby for that title.