Hippodrome 3R, in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, will be hosting the richest event for four-year-old pacers in North American harness racing on Sunday afternoon, September 21, the Prix d’Ete, reviving Quebec’s most famous historical stakes race
The Quebec Jockey Club has modernized the race by changing eligibility from three-year-olds to four-year-olds for the revival. There will be a $250,000 in total purses for the Prix D’Ete with the main race, for the top seasonal money winners declaring in, going for a purse of $200,000 and if entries warrant there will also be a $50,000 consolation race.
This is the first of several looks at the current crop of four-year-olds eligible to the Prix d’Ete, which will rank them one through five as current abilities and promising futures foretell. Many of the horses eligible for the Prix D'Ete are racing this weekend at tracks throughout North America.
#1 Apprentice Hanover - He is trained by Ben Wallace and is owned by Brad Grant. Apprentice Hanover has been one of the top horses in the older ranks for the first half of 2014, earning $313,660. He has won five Preferred events at Woodbine, had one win and hit the board in all five of his Levy Series starts at Yonkers, including missing by just a neck from last at the head of the stretch in the $567,000 Levy Final.
He also just missing by a neck in the Molson Pace at Western Fair Raceway (these two tracks are, like the Hippodrome 3R, half-mile tracks). “Apprentice” just returned to the races this past Saturday after a month’s freshening, missing less than four lengths in a 1:48.3 mile.
#2 Mach It So - He is trained by P.J. Fraley and is owned by Bamond Racing. This is another horse who had a lot of success in the Levy Series – well, at least in the prelims, where he won three legs, was second in two others but in the final, he was unlucky enough to draw the outside post eight, and he was outside most of the mile. Has earned $123,250 already this year.
#3 Sunshine Beach - Trained by Mark Steacy and owned by Hudson Standardbreds, Conrad Leber, and Diane Bertrand. While Sunshine Beach won nearly $1 million last year and beat Captaintreacherous in one of the most dramatic races of the year in 2013, he is not having a very good start to his 2014 race season. That is, purse earnings are not very good. He has made four starts against the best pacers in the world and has only two fifth place finishes, but then again, he has paced in 1:49.4 or less with :27 second or less last quarters in all of his starts. We are sure he will return to his winning ways soon.
#4 Captive Audience – Trained by Corey Johnson and owned by Debbie Element and Mac Nichol of Ontario. After a great start to the 2014 race season where he won four straight races, Captive Audience too has hit somewhat of a cold streak. He was third in his Ben Franklin elimination division and just like Sunshine Beach, has been pacing in less than 1:49.3 with :26.4 last quarter miles but not earning much racing against the best pacers in the world.
#5 Duc Dorleans - Trainer Jacques Dupont and owned by Gestion Levesque 2005, Les Ecuries Dorleans, and Marie Helene Dupont), is the true local hero for the Prix D’Ete. He is the all-age track record holder at the Hippodrome 3R with his 1:52.4 triumph here last year, and this year he wrote the track record for older pacing horses at 1:53.1. The “Duc” equaled his lifetime best of 1:49.3 at Mohawk last month, and was third in the top class at Mohawk this past Saturday.
There’s every reason to believe that these four-year-olds will put on a great show at 3R come September 21, and it’s very likely to be a fast show, too: Already this season the all-time track trot mark of 1:56 has been equaled by Michelangelo, and in all 10 divisional standards at the Hippodrome 3R, the track record has been rewritten or equaled.
Make your plans now to reserve your seat at the Hippodrome 3R as September 21 will be coming up very fast. We will have updates on the Prix D’Ete contenders every other week. For more information about the Hippodrome 3R please visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.
From the Quebec Jockey Club