TROIS-RIVIERES, June 9, 2014 – Sunshine Beach and Dedi’s Dragon, the only three-year-olds in 2013 to have beaten the Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous, plus all-star performer Apprentice Hanover, headline the list of 24 harness racing pacers that are eligible to race in the Hippodrome 3R’s revival of the prestigious Prix D’Ete.
Restricted to just four-year-olds and now part of the prestigious Grand Circuit, the return of the Prix D’Ete will feature purses totaling $250,000.
The Prix D’Ete will be the richest race in North America for four-year-old pacers with the final going for $200,000 and the consolation race worth $50,000. The top 16 lifetime money winning horses that enter will go in the two divisions by earnings.
“We are very pleased with the final nominees for the Prix D’ete,” said Hippodrome 3R’s General Manager Vincent Trudel. “I know that our track record will most certainly be in jeopardy with this high caliber of competition. The Prix D’Ete has a long history of being won by great horses and I think that will happen again with this renewal.”
With the signature event of Quebec’s revival of harness racing just over three months away, on Sunday, September 21 at the Hippodrome 3R, and with the list of eligibles finalized at 24, it’s time to take a look at the leading candidates for the event, based on early 2014 accomplishments.
“A” is always a very good place to start, and “A” stands for Apprentice Hanover, trained by Ontarian Ben Wallace, who has the highest earnings in 2014 among the Prix eligibles, $325,500. Indeed, that figure puts him second in all of North America this year behind P H Supercam, who won the Levy Series Final at Yonkers when Apprentice Hanover rallied from dead last at headstretch to miss by a heartbreaking neck. The “Apprentice” is a model of consistency this year, with a scorecard of 6 wins, 5 seconds, and a third in 12 starts.
The other $100,000 winner in 2014 among the Prix eligibles is Mach It So, trained by New Jersey-based horseman P.J. Fraley. Mach It So won three Levy preliminaries before being stymied by a draw of post eight in the finals. (The Levy Series references are especially relevant here because Yonkers, like 3R, is a half-mile track, showing that the form of these horses should translate well to the local oval.)
Sunshine Beach and Dedi’s Dragon, the two three-year-olds of 2013 who beat divisional rival Captaintreacherous (whose connections have committed him to a race in Ohio), are also among the Prix possibilities.
Dedi’s Dragon has two wins and five in-the-money finishes in seven starts this year for North America’s recordsetting trainer, Ron Burke, while Sunshine Beach, from the barn of Rideau Carleton-based conditioner Mark Steacy, is ready to start his 2014 campaign after a recent 1:52 victory in a qualifier at Mohawk. Sunshine Beach did finish the 2013 season with over $900,000 in earnings and a world record mile in 1:47.4.
Mention should be made also of “the local hero,” Duc Dorleans, who set the all-time 3R track record of 1:52.4 last season and this year lowered the oval’s standard for older pacers to 1:53.1. Trained by Jacques Dupont for Quebec owners Gestion Levesque, Ecuries Dorleans, and Marie Helene Dupont, the “Duc” is currently racing at 3R, where he has been first and second the last four weeks.
“We hope that everyone will come out this season, especially for the Prix D’Ete weekend and enjoy our great racing program and Québécois hospitality,” Trudel said. “There are no finer vacation and tourism areas in the Quebec region than Trois-Rivieres, Montreal and Quebec City during the summer and fall months.”
Initially known as the Prix d’Automne and won by older horses such as the three-time Horse of the Year Bret Hanover, the marquee event at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal was converted into the Prix D’Ete, a race for 3-year-old pacers in 1970 and remained one of the major North American stakes in the division until its last running in 1992. Past winners included Cam Fella, Niatross, Albatross, Strike Out, Abercrombie, Matt’s Scooter and Beach Towel.
For more information about the Prix D’Ete at Hippodrome 3R visit their website at www.quebecjockeyclub.com.
From the Quebec Jockey Club
List of nominees for the 2014 Prix D’Ete
Fool Me Once
Good Day Mate
Mach It So
Olde Time Hockey
Sunfire Blue Chip
Sweet Talkin Satin
That’ll Be The Rei