Day At The Track

Half A Billion sets Quebec-Bred Series record

09:42 AM 12 Jun 2017 NZST
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Harness racing Half A Billion, harness racing Michel Damphousse, harness racing HP Sissy, harness racing
Happy connections in the winner's circle with Half A Billion. (Left to right) co-owner Francois Letarte, trainer Francis Richard, driver Louis-Philippe Roy and co-owner Michel Letarte
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Half A Billion winning $30,000 Quebec-Bred Final in series record 1.52.2 for driver Louis-Philippe Roy
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HP Sissy co-owner Michel Damphousse proudly displays Quebec-Bred Final Trophy Cup with Claude Hamel's wife Celine and Louis-Philippe Roy looking on
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HP Sissy and driver Louis-Philippe Roy in full stride coming to the finish
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TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Sling-shotting to the lead after a torrid early pace, Half A Billion and driver Louis-Philippe Roy re-wrote the Quebec-Bred Series all-age record with an amazing 1:52.2 victory Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R.

The record-setting one mile pace was set in the sixth race, the $30,000 final of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old horses.

It was Sports Authority and driver Pierre-Luc Roy who set the fast-early fractions, going to the lead from post three and cutting the mile to the opening quarter in :26.3, then to the half mile marker in :55 with Mr Match On Beach (Stephane Brosseau) sitting in second place and Half A Billion in third.

It was at the half that Louis-Philippe Roy pulled on the right line and sent Half A Billion after the race leaders and the five-year-old gelding by Sportswriter responded with a burst of speed, clearing to the lead in the backstretch, opening up at the three-quarters in 1:23.3 and winning by nearly the length of the stretch (16 ½ lengths) over Sports Authority with Mr Match On Beach third.

The prior record was held in 2015 by three-time Quebec-Bred Series Champion, Atomic Million AM in 1:52.3. The track record for older geldings is 1:52 set by Rockin Ron last year in the Prix D'Ete.

"The thing I wanted most in the race with Half A Billion was fast fractions," Roy said. "It was an ideal mile for my horse. Sports Authority was to be feared, but I knew that my horse would respond the second half and once I asked him (Half A Billion) he just took off. He was perfect today thanks to trainer Richard Francis."

For Half A Billion, it made for a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series, his fourth straight win and sixth triumph of the year. He is trained by Francis Richard for owners Michel & Francois Letarte, Jean Allaire and Corey Giles, paying just $2.20 to win as the 1/9 wagering favorite.

In the $30,000 final for the pacing mares, it was another clean sweep of the series as HP Sissy and driver Louis-Philippe Roy were once again easy winners by three and one-quarter lengths in 1:55.

It was Wanda Bayama and trainer/driver/owner Yves Filion that began the ninth race final, shooting to the early lead and then stinging a first-over HP Sissy to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :26.4.

But Roy and HP Sissy wanted the lead and they eventually got it. Once on top, HP Sissy cut fractions of :56.3 and 1:25.4, holding the field at bay through to the winner's circle. Wanda Bayama was second with Skyfall Sena (Jocelyn Gendron) third.

"I don't think that Yves Filion was trying to park me," Roy said. "They were going fast early fractions all day. Once we got to the lead my mare felt fine as she has done all throughout the series."

"What a great race," said breeder and co-owner Claude Hamel, "a beautiful effort that made us so happy, a beautiful drive from Louis Philippe, what more can you ask for?"

"I expected to win at least two races today," Roy added, "and it is great that it was these two finals."

It was the fourth straight win for the Up The Credit four-year-old mare and her fifth win this year. She is trained by Jean Tourigny for breeder Claude Hamel, who co-owns HP Sissy with Michel Damphpusse. She paid $2.80 to win.

Track Notes: Driver Francis Picard had the hot hands Sunday, scoring a driving triple. On Tuesday evening the third and final preliminary rounds of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotting mares and horses will take place. Heading the mares is Y S Suzanne while Holiday Party is featured in the older horse division.

For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.

From the Quebec Jockey Club

 

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