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Siblings Take Brother Act To Crown

Published: October 28, 2011 3:28 pm ET

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Two brothers, separated by 363 days in age, have one goal in mind. For Mario and Ben Baillargeon, it’s all relative, as they team up to take a shot at Breeders Crown glory.

'Team Baillargeon,' with Mario driving and Ben training, will have a trio of three-year-olds in the Breeders Crown this Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack: trotting colt Mr Web Page, trotting filly Oh Sweet Baby and pacing gelding Odysseus Bluechip.

Mario, who notched his 7,000th victory in June, sits sixth in wins among the leading reinsmen on the WEG circuit, and Ben ranks fifth in the trainers’ standings this year.

There is no sibling rivalry to speak of.

Growing up, Ben had his sights set on a life as a trainer. Mario always wanted to be a driver.

“We make a good team together,” Ben said. “He helps me harness some out sometimes, he gives me some ideas. I don’t have to tell him what to do before a race because he knows my horses.

“He can read my mind,” he added with a chuckle. “He knows when to talk to me after a race and when not to.”

Although they put stock in the motto, ‘two heads are better than one,’ the Baillargeons don’t always agree with each other. So, what happens when they don’t feel that brotherly love?

“We turn the page and go on to the next,” said Mario.

But, come Saturday evening, there is no doubt they will be sharing the same vision.

Ben, who is yet to bring home a 'Crown' trophy, admitted that winning one with his brother in the driver’s seat would be one of the highlights of his career. Even so, the conditioner remains level-headed about his trio of longshots.

“I don’t dream, I am very realistic,” said the 53-year-old resident of Rockwood, Ont. “I know what my horses are and I know the competition. The three of them are nice horses, but some of the others are nicer. But a race is a race and I’ve seen strange things happen.”

For Mario, sharing a winner’s circle picture on October 29 would be a picture-perfect moment.

“It would mean the world. To be in a Breeders Crown final, it is always great, but to win it is even better,” said the 54-year-old resident of Milton, Ont., who won a Crown final in 2002 with the Ben Wallace-trained Totally Western. “But, to win for my brother, that would be super. It would be something that in five or 10 years, we would look back on and always remember.”

It’s a brother act that has proven to be a win-win for both Baillargeon brothers.

All 12 of the 2011 Breeders Crown finals will take centre stage this Saturday (October 29) at Woodbine Racetrack in suburban Toronto. The program will feature a special first-race post time of 6:30 p.m. (ET).

With more than $6 million in purses money on the line, the racing program will mark the first time in Canada that all 12 of the Breeders Crown championships will be contested on the same card. The Score will be broadcasting the evening live, coast-to-coast in Canada. The broadcast will begin at 7:30 p.m. and run until 11:15 p.m.

To view the entries for Woodbine's Breeders Crown program, click here. To access a free printable program for Breeders Crown Night courtesy of TrackIT, click here.


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