Favored Sky Promise Comes Running To Collect British Columbia Derby Win

The year 2015 flashed before trainer Craig MacPherson’s eyes Saturday at Hasting Racecourse in the closing seconds of the 73rd running of the BC Derby. It was one of those moments when you cringe and say to yourself:   “Oh no, this can’t be happening; I’ve already lived through this.”

MacPherson, a two-time leading trainer at Hastings, had every reason to believe he was on the verge of winning his first-ever BC Derby when Weekend Wizard sprinted to a clear lead entering the final turn of the Grade 3, $150,000 premier race of the season.  

Sky Promise suddenly came with a rush in deep stretch to win by three-quarters of a length, creating a celebration of Alberta revelers that would go long into the night.

“I’ve seen this movie before,” MacPherson said as his trip to the winner’s circle came to a screeching halt.  “This is too much like 2015 and our Bluegrass Angus story.”

He was referring to his devastating loss by a neck to Academic in the BC Derby of three years ago when he watched a convincing lead vanish in the blink of an eye at the finish line.

But for the Alberta connections that included trainer Robertino Diodoro, jockey Rico Walcott and their lively ownership group, it was a case of ‘party on’ as Sky Promise paraded around with a blanket of 650 roses draped over him.

Actually, the celebration was minus Walcott.  He was in distress with stomach cramps when he brought Sky Promise back for the ceremonial victory photo and gingerly made his way back to the jocks room.

Walcott rode Sky Promise to back-to-back victories in the Canadian Derby at Northlands on Aug. 25 and the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs on Aug. 6. Walcott was also in the irons for last year’s BC Derby victory aboard Chief Know It All for the same Alberta connections.  In total, he now has four BC Derby titles under his belt.  Sky Promise finished his 1 1/8-miles journey in a final time of 1:51.71, paying $4.70, $2.80, $2.40.

Walcott’s absence in the winner’s circle Saturday meant missing the opportunity of meeting a couple of retired Vancouver Canucks legends destined for the Hockey Hall of Fame:  Daniel and Henrik Sedin.  The charismatic twins own standardbreds in their native Sweden and were making their first visit to watch the thoroughbreds at Hastings.

There were five other stakes on the 10-race card Saturday.  Here’s Hannah didn’t disappoint as the odds-on favourite in the $100,000 BC Oaks for three-year-old fillies.  Trained by John Morrison for BC Stables and Paul Caravetta, Here’s Hannah, scored her sixth career stakes win leading from start to finish with Richard Hamel aboard and paid $3.80, $2.80, $2.30.

MacPherson did make it to the winner’s circle after his disappointment in the BC Derby when Dat Day won the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity with Antonio Reyes up.  Owned by Canyon Farms, Dat Day hit big with the betting public by paying $24.20, $9.70, $6.00.  Dancin Shoes had earlier romped to an 8 ½ length victory in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity for owners Mr. & Mrs.  David Pihl and trainer Barbara Heads.

Absolutely Stylish showed plenty of elegance with a 6 ½ length win in the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate for owner Peter Redekop and leading trainer Phil Hall. Jockey Enrique Gonzalez was never threatened and had a clear lead on the stretch run.  Absolutely Stylish paid $8.40, $4.50, $3.50. It was one of Hall’s three training wins on the day and Gonzalez’ third riding win of the afternoon.

The $50,000 Delta Colleen provided an exciting finish with Reginella winning for Rico Walcott by a nose over Notis the Jewel.  Trained by Seattle-based Blaine Wright, Reginella paid $8.90, $4.70, $2.90.

Live racing resumes Sunday with an eight-race card at 1:50 p.m.

The post Favored Sky Promise Comes Running To Collect British Columbia Derby Win appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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