Day At The Track

Full brothers set track records at Hippodrome 3R

09:39 AM 07 Sep 2015 NZST
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Wildwild Men, harness racing Voodoo Charm, harness racing Mr Mach Jimmy, harness racing Seeyou Men, harness racing
Wildwild Men and driver Robert Shepherd set track record at 3R
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Voodoo Charm beats Wanda Bayama by a nose
Mr Mach Jimmy and driver Pascal Berube lead the field at the top of the stretch
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Seeyou Men and driver Robert Shepherd set the track record
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TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – Starting off in the very first race with a track record, the Hippodrome 3R featured its richest day of harness racing in 2015 with the $500,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers Sunday.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures were the order of the day for the jammed packed crowd around the half mile oval. The 12-race program featured four divisions for two-year-olds, each with a purse of $55,000, and four divisions for three-year-olds, each with a purse of $65,000.

The series culminated three weeks of preliminary races with the top eight point earners returning for the finals.

The first race final for three-year-old trotting colts saw Seeyou Men and driver Robert Shepherd rewrite their own track record for geldings with a resounding 1:58.4 triumph.

Leaving from post five, Shepherd put Seeyou Men right on the lead to the opening quarter mile in :30, then a slight breather to the half in 1:01 with Notrouble Dechafra (Stephane Brosseau) sitting the pocket trip and The Sprinter (Mario Ballargeon) starting up first-over.

Before The Sprinter could even mount a challenge, Seeyou Men began to pull away from the field in the backstretch, leading by  lengths at the three-quarters in 1:29.3. They then poured it on in the stretch to win in a romp by eight and three-quarter lengths in 1:58.4. Seeyou Men’s prior track mark was 1:59.3. The Sprinter was second with Promesses Imperial (Jerome Lombart) third.

Sired by Muscle Mass, it was a lifetime mark for Seeyou Men, who is trained by Isabella Darveau for co-owner Catheline Pelletier and Chantal Gravel, the breeder of Seeyou Men. He paid $2.50 to win.

The second race final for two-year-old pacers saw Mr Mach Jimmy and driver Pascal Berube make it a clean sweep in the series. He wired the field from post two in a lifetime best 1:57.3.

The race was not without plenty of excitement as Mr Mach Jimmy was stung early going after the lead from Sagawi (Francis Piscard) to the opening quarter in :27.4. Then after the half in :57.4, Pudong Phil (Clarke Steacy) came first-over, but it was YS Artistic Fella and driver Sylvain Filion who nearly stole the race.

Getting away in last place to the opening quarter mile, Filion then took YS Artistic Fella three-wide and nearly looped the entire field by the three-quarters in 1:26.3. Then in the stretch drive, Mr Mach Jimmy was able to hold off YS Artistic Fella to win by a half-length. Sagawi was third.

“This is my first win in Quebec-Bred Finals,” Said Pascal Berube. “This colt never allows himself to over exceed. He always has energy to race. In the stretch, I was sure he had enough in him to not be beaten. He's really a good horse and he will keep on improving.”

It was the fourth straight win for Mr Mach Jimmy. The altered son of Mach Three is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC. He paid $4.20 to win.

The fastest mile on the program came in the third race final for three-year-old pacing colts and gelded as Sugarsam and Mach On The Beach put on a speed show.

Mach On The Beach left quickly for driver Pascal Berube to the first quarter in :27.4 with SOS Justified (Mario Charron) right on his back. Then at the half mile in :56.2, Sugarsam and driver Denis St Pierre came first-over and gave perfect second-over cover to the 3/5 favorite, Western Bayama (Sylvain Filion).

Once they reached the backstretch it became a dogfight as Sugarsam nearly cleared to the lead by the three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Mach On The Beach would not hear of it and came back to take the lead at the top of the lane.

Then Sugarsam and Denis St Pierre were able to continue their forward momentum in the stretch to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:53.2. Mach On The Beach was second with SOS Justified third as Western Bayama failed to fire and finished fifth.

Sired by Sportswriter, it was the third win this year for Sugarsam. He is trained by Colin Johnson for owner/breeder Sam Anastasopoulos of Saint-Therese, QC and paid $6.60 to win.

“This colt (Sugarsam) experienced some difficulties early in the season,” said owner  Sam Anastasopoulos, “but he has put it back together just in time. We have had great expectations for him and he met that this afternoon with that mile in 1:53. We are very proud of him.”

Perhaps after seeing his older full brother, Seeyou Men, rewrite his own track record, Wildwild Men was not to be outdone in the final for two-year-old trotting colts and gelding.

Leaving from post two, driver Robert Shepherd sent Wildwild Men right to the front with Panamas Boy (Stephane Brosseau) leaving from post six to grab the two-hole trip.

Wildwild Men was fired up and shot to the first quarter mile in :28.2. From there Shepherd kept the rest of the field at bay, going to the half in :59.3 and the three-quarters in 1:29, opening up by five lengths by the top of the stretch and winning by eight and one-quarter lengths in 1:58.2.

Wildwild Men’s clocking was the fastest mile in track history by any two-year-old trotter. Panamas Boy held for second with Holiday Party (Pascal Berube) third.

“It always looks easy when you have a good horse,” said driver Robert Shepherd. “It makes you look like you have anything under control. They trot so well and now behave themselves so it does look easy.

“When we trained him down (Wildwild Men),” Shepherd said. “He looked like he would be a nice horse. We always thought he was pretty talented. We just didn’t know how deep he really was. He kept showing up every week and proving us wrong.”

Wildwild Men has owned the track record with his 2:00.3 triumph last week and lowered it Sunday by more than two full seconds.

A full brother to Seeyou Men (Muscle Mass-Seeyouinthecircle by Angus Hall), it was the fourth straight win and fifth victory on the year for Wildwild Men. It was a driving double for Shepherd, a training double for Isabelle Darveau and two wins in the finals for co-owner Catheline Pelletier and breeder Chantal Gravel of QC. Wildwild Men paid $2.60 to win as the 1/5 wagering favorite.

The two-year-old filly trot final had just five starters and was held as a non-wagering event between the 5th and 6th races on the program.

Driver Sylvain Filion made the most of his catch-drive on Y S Suzanne as he sent the daughter of Angus Hall right to the front and held on the entire mile to win by one length in 2:03.3.

Dolly V P (Gaetan Lamy) sat the pocket trip but could not catch Y S Suzanne in the stretch, settling for second place with Eau Naturelle (Mario Charron), making a break at the start and then rebounding, coming first-over for a game third place finish.

It was the perfect time for Y S Suzanne to break her maiden with her first victory in six career starts. She is trained by Richard Moreau for owner/breeder Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, QC.

A forced change in driving tactics worked out perfectly for Miss Babe Delight in the sixth race final for two-year-old pacing fillies.

Leaving for the front from post two, Miss Babe Delight and driver Mario Ballargeon had to give way to a stubborn HP Sissy (Guy Gagnon) by the opening quarter mile in :27.4. HP Sissy then led to the half in :58.3 and the three-quarters in 1:29 as Art De Gagnee (Mario Charron) was first-over challenging the leaders.

Then on the turn for home, it became a two-horse race as Ballargeon came out of the pocket with Miss Babe Delight, who usually races on the front end, and collared HP Sissy in the stretch and went on to win by one length. HP Sissy was second with stablemate/entry HP Mercedes (Louis Phillipe Roy) third.

“A change of strategy really benefited this filly today,” said driver Mario Baillargeon. “She is a “green filly" when she races on top. I had in mind to take the second position at the start, and I just tried to challenge HP Sissy a little bit before taking the “golden spot”.  I thought I could use the passing lane at the end, but I just had overtook the leader from the outside and she closed very well.”

It was a series double for trainer Dany Fontaine, who won earlier with Mr Mach Jimmy and was second with Mach On The Beach. It was also a double for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. and a double for breeder Rejean Lassonde of Le Gardeur, QC. Miss Babe Delight paid $5.10 to win.

Meganou, the 2014 champion filly, had just one win in nine starts this year coming into the eighth race final for three-year-old trotting fillies and she returned to winning form for driver Jocelyn Gendron in a big way.

Going to the lead from post one, Gendron had Meganou in high gear as she pulled away from the field by the opening quarter mile in :28.2 and never looked back. She cut fractions of :58 to the half mile and 1:27.4 at the three-quarters and went on to win in a romp by nearly the entire length of the stretch, scoring by 15 and one-half lengths in 1:59.3.

Her clocking was one fifth of a second from tying the track record. Double Chance (Sylvain Lacaille) was second with Chamane (Simon Delisle) third.

It was a lifetime mark for the daughter of Kadabra, who is trained by Daniel Martin for owner Jean Picard of Orford, QC and paid $6.60 to win.

The 11th race final for three-year-old pacing fillies saw the closest finish on the entire race card as Wanda Bayama and Voodoo Charm put on quite a show.

Wanda Bayama (Sylvain Filion) was parked to the quarter mile by Juniper Sena (Pascal Berube) in :27.3. Then after settling in fourth place early, Mario Charron came first-over and slowly started to grind it out at the half mile in :57.3.

Then by the three-quarters in 1:27.2., Voodoo Charm dropped in right behind Wanda Bayama, prepping for the stretch drive. And with Mario Charron urging and putting a drive on Voodoo Charm, the filly responded and caught Filion and Wanda Bayama at the wire to win by a nose in 1:57.1. Big Bertha (Guy Gagnon) closed well to be third.

Sired by Ponder, it was the seventh win in just nine starts this year for Voodoo Charm. She is trained by Maxime Velaye for onwers Yvan Mondouz, Guy Gorbell, Alexandre Morin and Francois Laverdere, WC and paid $3.20 to win. It was also his fourth straight win.

TRACK NOTES: Three-time Quebec-Bred Series champion, Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron, led from start to finish in the Open Trot in 1:57.4. It was his seventh win in eleven starts this year. Live racing will resume at the Hippodrome 3R next Sunday, post time 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.

By Steve Wolf, for the Quebec Jockey Club

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