It’s Mocha Time at Vancouver's Hastings Racecourse10 August 2009 by Victoria Revay 
We met Vancouver-based writer Kevin Chong in Dawson City during the music festival. He’s brilliant. Already an established author, the young journalist is curr
We met Vancouver-based writer Kevin Chong in Dawson City during the music festival. He’s brilliant. Already an established author, the young journalist is currently working on a non-fiction book about the Hastings Racecourse  and the colorful characters that come with life in the stables.
When we heard about his project, we knew we had to check out the Hastings Racecourse and see his horse, Mocha Time. Oddly enough, I’ve lived in Vancouver most of my adult life and have never been to races.
Just a ten-minute drive down Hastings Street from downtown Vancouver, the racecourse is more than 100-years old. When we got there on Sunday afternoon, the place was hip-and-happening. Kevin ordered a private box, lucky number 31, which was outside and sort of had the feel of those bleachers in high school.
We sat down, opened up the racing schedule and excitedly plotted our winning streak.
Lean and muscular, the horses were dressed in matching colours with their tiny jockeys, their numbers clearly visible for all to see. The stands, private boxes and the area in front of the tracks were filled with young hipsters in big groups, older veterans of the tracks and young families.
I’m not sure what it was, but I had a feeling I’d go home with some winnings. The number 3 also played a predominant role in that sense. So without much thought and strategy (and lots of finger-crossing lucky later), I bet on the 4th round, horse number 3 and a $2 Triactor 5-3-1: It was either Stevie Marie for a show, place or a top three position, or we were going home broke.
In the blink of an eye, the gates broke open and the horses were off. Stevie Marie was being edged out by the favourites, She’s So True and Ebony Orchid were kicking some major butt. But then after the first circle, Stevie kicked it up a notch.
He made a wild recovery and gained a few positions as he picked up speed. He placed second in the finish line. I was screaming and jumping up-and-down like I just won the lottery (although it was only a few dollars).
Afterwards, we went back to the stables and met Moka Time and Rosie, the horse’s trainer. Bouncing his head up-and-down to get a snack, we gave the horses carrots and bananas. (Yes, we had them eating out of our palm!) Mocha Time’s giant grin was infectious, making us laugh out loud. What a ham that Mocha Time is!
Friendly and untamed, the horses do have their own personalities. The entire stable crew and racetrack culture has a mysterious quality you can only understand when you’ve been around a little. I wonder what life in the stables is really like for them. But I guess I can just read Kevin’s book to find out.