Day At The Track

Pascal Berube holds on to win driving title

10:30 AM 23 Nov 2020 NZDT
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Harness racing Onyx VA, harness racing Sir Chopin Sophies Cam, harness racing Maracasso, harness racing
Trainer-driver Claude Beausoleil removes the harness from Onyx VA, who was retired from racing at H3R.
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Winning connections with blanket presentation to 14YO OnyxVA
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Sir Chopin and driver Carol Voyer flying down the stretch at H3R
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Sophies Cam and driver Stephane Brosseau
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Maracasso and driver Stephane Gendron
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Trois-Rivieres, QC - Harness racing driver Pascal Berube had held the lead for most wins at the Hippodrome 3R nearly the entire race season starting in June.

Berube recently moved his stable to Toronto and could not be at H3R on Sunday, closing day, to defend his lead. He was up by four wins over Stephane Brosseau going into Sunday's final card.

And Brosseau made a great challenge, winning three races and just needing a victory with Bali in the eighth race pace, but it was not to be as they were boxed in most of the race and finished third.

Thus, without having to drive at all, Pascal Berube won the driving title, 52 to 51 over Stephane Brosseau.

"I wish I could have been at H3R today," Berube said. "It is a beautiful track that I hold dear in my heart. But I am very happy to hear this news."

As for the training title, that went to Francis Richard for the fourth straight year. He had 33 wins from his stable this season.

Maracasso was able to survive two major challenges and still hang tough in winning the fifth race Preferred-Handicapped Pace for the older horses.

Farmers Tan (Carol Voyer) was the first on the early lead but was challenged early by Maracasso and driver Stephane Gendron, who pressed on to take command in a swift :26.2 first quarter.

There was no chance for a breather as Maracasso led the field to the half mile in :55.3 and then Wrangler Cash and driver Francis Picard came first-over to challenge.

In the backstretch those two battled neck and neck to the three-quarters in 1:25.2 with neither horse giving way. Then after the final turn and starting down the stretch, Maracasso proved to be much the best, fending off Wranglers Cash in the stretch to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:56. Dreydl Hanover (Samuel Fillion) was a fast closing third.

It was the fourth win of the year for Maracasso, an eight-year-old gelding by Lis Mara. He is trained by Sylvain Tremblay for the Alpha Stable of Metabetchouan. He paid $10.60 to win.

The third race Preferred-Handicapped Trot saw Sir Chopin and owner-trainer-driver Carol Voyer of Kenogami make it two straight wins in the top trotting class.

Keepall (Stephane Gendron) cut the mile from the start with Precieuse CC (Claude Beausoleil) sitting the pocket seat until the half mile. Then Sir Chopin and Voyer came first-over, collaring Keepall in the backstretch and then by the three-quarters took the lead and never looked back.

At the top of the stretch Sir Chopin pulled away from the field to win with ease by five and one-half lengths in 1:59.1. Dr Spengler (Stephane Brosseau) closed for second place with Eau Naturelle (Simon Delisle) third.

A five-year-old gelded son of Lucky Fool, it was the third win this year for Sir Chopin, who paid $7.00 to win.

The biggest upset of the day came in the sixth race Preferred-Handicap race for the Fillies and Mares.

It was a three-horse battle for early control of the lead between Fancy Girl (Francis Picard), Shemaksmefelunreal (Sylvain Lacaille) and race favorite Wild River Swan (Samuel Filion) to the opening quarter mile in :27.2.

Wild River Swan won the battle and cut the mile to the half in :57.1 when Sophies Cam and driver Stephane Brosseau started up first-over with Y C Easy (Steeven Genois) second-over.

Then in the backstretch, Sophies Cam charged right by Wild River Swan as did Y C Easy to the three-quarters in 1:27.1. From there Sophies Cam drew off from the field and won with ease by one and a half lengths in 1:57.4. Kiss Me Bad (Steven Gagnon) closed to be second with Y C Easy third.

Sent off at odds of 9-1, Sophies Cam returned a generous $21.90 to win. It was the daughter of Yankee Cam's seventh win of the year for trainer Carl Duguay and owner-breeder Yvanhoe Landry of Carleton-Sur-Mer.

Then in the seventh race pace, the 14-year-old Onyx VA gave it his all for trainer-driver Claude Beausoleil, cutting the mile and parking out race favorite Soleil Gretzky (Stephane Brosseau) until the stretch as Soleil Gretzky ($2.80) won in 1:58.3 and Onyx VA faded to fourth place.

After the race, in a fitting tribute, all of the racing equipment was removed from Onyx VA in the winner's circle and then the horse was presented a special retirement blanket from the staff of the Quebec Jockey Club.

Owned his entire race career by Andre Larcoque of Lourdes-De-Joliette, Onyx VA, sired by Electric Stena, will now enjoy a life of luxury in his retirement. He ends his career with 47 lifetime wins and earnings of more than $300,000.

Track Notes: Stephane Brosseau led all drivers with three wins on the day. Carl Duguay led all trainers with a double. This was the final day of live racing at H3R for the 2020 season. The track and OTB outlets throughout Quebec will be open seven days a week for simulcasting through the winter. For more information, visit www.hippodrome3R.ca.

From the Quebec Jockey Club

 
 
 
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