Day At The Track

Hippodrome set to open with new whipping rules

03:32 AM 05 May 2019 NZST
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Live racing gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday photo

Trois-Rivieres, QC - When the Hippodrome 3R harness racing track opens on Sunday, May 5 for the start of its 2019 race season, fans and horseman will be in for some different driving tactics with the new whipping rules.

"Many will remember that we featured no whips at all on the last two days of the 2018 race meet," said Director of Racing Murielle Thomassin. "We learned a lot from those two days and have worked with our horsemen to come up with these new harsher rules for use of the whip at the Hippodrome 3R."

Starting this season drivers must keep both hands in the handholds at all times. Drivers must limit the use of the whip at all times while on the racetrack.

Drivers can never reach back to whip a horse. All whipping movement must be done from the wrist. The forearm must remain perpendicular to the track when the whip is used.

For any infractions of the new rules, a driver can receive demerit points. The point system will not go into effect until the third race program at H3R.

Once a driver has accumulated more than three points, that driver is suspended from driving on the next race card. After a driver receives their first suspension, they will be put on probation and suspended from the next race card each time they receive an additional demerit point.

Any driver who receives any demerit points during the last month of racing at H3R, those points will carry over to the 2020 race season.

The demerit points will be awarded by a committee of three people who will be appointed by the Director of the Quebec Jockey Club. There will be no appeal mechanism. Neither the Director General nor the Director of the track and no members of the Board of Directors at the QJC will be able to reverse a decision of the committee.

"We realized last season that drivers need to carry a whip with them at all times on the racetrack," Thomassin explained. "It is a tool they need to control the horse, but any abuse of the whip will no longer be tolerated."

With the start of the new meet there are also changes in post times and race days. Sunday afternoon will remain the same only with a new post time of 1:00 pm.

Starting May 24, the Hippodrome 3R will feature Friday evening racing this season with first race post time at 7:00 pm.

"We have tried mid-week racing in the past," Said Thomassin. "But the Tuesday and Wednesday night were not working out and now we are trying Friday evenings. We also one Thursday evening program on August 8."

There will be a new on-track TV show called The Winner's Circle, that will begin at noon on live race days Sunday and Friday's at 6:00 pm.

It is a new format, new content, new presentation too. The show will be broadcast exclusively in the betting rooms and on the usual sites of HPI and H3R. Track announcer Guy Lafontaine will continue to assume his role as descriptor and main animator, Ghislain Paquet will have the heavy task, essential however, the analysis of races and Daniel Delisle will be bringing everyone up on the latest news from the industry.


The team at H3R has Ms. Murielle Thomassin in the lead for the new TV show.

The Summer Prize on the stakes schedule at H3R is none other than the $200,000 Prix D'Ete for four-year-old pacers set on Sunday, August 18.

The richest racing card of the season will take place on Sunday, September 8 with the finals of the Breeders Cup and Future Stars Series for two and three-year-old pacers and trotters.

The leading drivers and trainers at H3R will be back on opening. Stephane Brosseau goes for this third straight driving title and faces rivals Stephane Gendron, Guy Gagnon, Pascal Berube, Pierre Luc Roy and Francis Picard.

The two-time leading trainer, Francis Richard, will be back to defend his title against Maxime Velaye, Isabelle Bineti, Kevin Maquire, Yves Tessier and Michel Allard.

The classic Ben Hur Challenge, pitting two of the top drivers in the sport in head-to-head competition will again take place at H3R.

Sunday's opening day card features ten races and both a Preferred Trot in the second race and a Preferred Pace in the eighth race. The trot is headlined by former track record holder and Quebec champion, Wildwild Men, taking on former champion, Holiday Party. While on the pacing side, Quebec Champions Stock and HP Patriote go against the top pacing mare the last two seasons at H3R, Rainbow Palace.

For a free race program and other information, please visit

From the Quebec Jockey Club

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