Day At The Track

In the shadows, Quebec Jockey Club trying to race

02:22 AM 16 May 2020 NZST
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Claude Levesque, harness racing 2018 Color Prix D'Ete logo.jpg
Claude Levesque, Chairman of the Board of the Quebec Jockey Club

Trois-Rivieres, QC - At the end of the day, it is a determined chairman of the board at the Quebec Jockey Club that we have been able to hear over the last few days. Indeed, Claude Levesque and the members of his staff are work tirelessly, trailing the authorities, to get approval to have harness racing at the Hippodrome 3R soon.

According to Mr. Levesque, "It is very important to mobilize and reach out to as many contacts as possible with the government authorities. The Board meets every Wednesday morning at 9 am, and all members make a point of participating. There is a determination among all to get racing at H3R started as soon as possible this summer. There are no doors that we have not knocked on, no contacts that we have neglected. We even hired a public relations firm, a kind of lobbying company with the government.

"Let people be reassured," Levesque added. "We want racing as soon as possible, and we'll be ready. Different scenarios were put together: for example, eight races cards, with eight horses, one groom/person per horse, drivers dressing in their cars before showing up at the paddock. The neighboring province of Ontario, which has received permission from its government, has put in place a number of measures of its own.

"It is the Ministry of Health or if you prefer the Department of Public Health that will ultimately give its approval," Levesque added. "Without this authorization, it is impossible to proceed. We also count on the cooperation of our racing commission, which is essential for a return to the track. We are also in contact with other jurisdictions across Canada that could support us if necessary. Murielle Thomassin, our Director of Racing for the QJC is also doing an important job in all of these steps. The town hall of Trois-Rivières is also one of our contacts and supporters.

"If we could get the Public Health OK tomorrow, we could quickly make qualifications and we'd be ready to race," Levesque explained. "Of course, the races would be done without spectators present at the racetrack, but we could rely on our television network to broadcast them and promote the sport. Incidentally, the inter-track betting works well on HPI, better than we could have anticipated and it will be even better when the harness races resume all over Canada and the United States.

"We would like," Levesque explained. "for our horse people and our fans too, to be the first to return to the track; if not, it certainly won't be for lack of trying. But I am hopeful that we will be able to do so in a few weeks. We must not let down on our persistence and continue to follow up with the decision-making bodies."

As it can be seen, the leaders of the Quebec Jockey Club, led by Claude Levesque, are at work for the return of harness racing in Quebec. Rest assure they shall continue to be persistence and everyone should try to stay positive and be ready when the word "GO" is given.

From the Quebec Jockey Club

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