2012 Thoroughbred Racing Season at Hastings Gets Launched with Opening Weekend April 14-15

Friday Night Live Returns in Peak Summer Months

VANCOUVER, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Hastings Racecourse has announced its 71-day card for the 2012 season with Raj Mutti, Regional General Manager, BC Racing, calling it "a balanced schedule" geared to build on the momentum established last year.

"We are starting with racing two days a week in the early Spring and will add the popular Friday Night Live cards during our peak months," Mutti said. "Our mandate is to build on the momentum we had in 2011 with increased handle figures and attendance."

The new season begins on Saturday, April 14 and runs until Friday Oct. 14 with an exciting stakes schedule that is anchored by the two richest single day events of the year:  BC Cup Day (Aug. 6) and BC Derby Day (Sept. 9).

There are 40 stakes races scheduled with a total of $2.5 million in purse money.  Traditionally, the stakes program gets underway on Sunday, April 15 with the $50,000 George Royal as part of the opening weekend festivities.

The 2012 racing calendar consists of six dates in April, ten in May, thirteen in June, fourteen in July, fourteen in August, nine in September and five in October. August includes six matinee cards during the Fair at the PNE with special 3:20 p.m. starts.

The Friday Night Live cards (7:00 p.m.) begin on May 25 with twelve in total that will continue to run in June, July and August.  All Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Mondays have 1:50 p.m. start times with the exception of BC Cup Day (Monday, Aug. 6) and BC Derby Day (Sunday, Sept. 9).

BC Cup Day has six stakes races totaling $325,000 in purses while BC Derby Day features six stakes totaling $700,000. Start times for both will be 12:50 p.m. to accommodate the two biggest dates on the 2012 racing calendar.

Mutti confirmed earlier that the $100,000 BC Premiers on Monday, Oct. 8 has been upgraded to Grade 3 status, joining the $100,000 Ballerina (also on Oct. 8) and the $200,000 BC Derby.

With more than 450 horses currently on the grounds at Hastings, training hours are 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday with starting gate training set to begin March 8.

The complete 2012 Hastings Racecourse schedule is available at www.hastingsracecourse.com

Hastings Racecourse & Casino is located in Vancouver, B.C. and features live and simulcast wagering, a vibrant gaming floor, numerous dining options, private and public event facility rental opportunities, spectacular views of the North Shore Mountains and outstanding guest services.

SOURCE Great Canadian Gaming Corporation - Media Relations

For further information:

For Media & Entertainment inquiries: Howard Blank - 604.303.100
For Racing inquiries:  Raj Mutti - 604.216.5245

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