Happy Horsemen at Hastings

The meet-end figures at Hastings Park showed a 29.7% increase in purses and nearly 6% upswing in total handle. The Vancouver-area track is on the front end of a five-year plan to double purses and to broadcast its signal to a much bigger audience in British Columbia.

Hastings Park was purchased by Woodbine Entertainment Group earlier this year and in July announced its first purse increase in at least seven years. By the end of the 77-day meet, average daily purses were up to $100,636 (about $157,000 Canadian) from $77,586 in 2001. Last year the track offered 93 days of live racing.

All-source handle at Hastings grew from $35,906,487 to $38,019,611 in 2002, a 5.9 increase. That resulted in an average daily handle of $493,761. Total on-track handle was $15,873,169.

Harold Barroby won his 10th straight training title at Hastings with 50 wins. He finished far ahead of second-place Jim Brown's 35 victories. Jockey Pedro Alvarado won the jockey's race with 121 wins. Apprentice Nicola Wright finished behind him with 101 trips to the winner's circle.