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Velaye Celebrates First 3R Title

Published: November 1, 2015 11:35 pm ET

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Even Mother Nature with rains that turned the track sloppy could not put a damper on the final live harness racing card of the season at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday.

It was a special day for Mirabel, Que. resident Maxime Velaye as he won his first training title at the Hippodrome 3R.

The driving title came down to the very last race on the program and Denis St Pierre, who was not competing on the card due to a driving suspension from a previous interference violation, still won the title in a dramatic finish over Mario Charron, 48-47. Charron had a driving triple at 3R Sunday. For St Pierre, it is his second straight driving title at the Hippodrome 3R.

Velaye came into the final race program of the season leading all trainers with 19 wins. Then, with both of Jean Tourigny’s (18 wins) horses entered on Sunday late scratches, Velaye won the title before the race program got underway. He closed out the season with 20 wins.

“This is my first training title ever,” said Velaye. “And how great it is. This is my first season back in Quebec after seven years in Ontario. So great to win this, coming back home and doing what I love.

“I had only wished that Mario [Charron] was able to win the last race,” Velaye said. “Then he would have been tied for the driving title and we could celebrate our titles together.”

In the eighth race, $8,000 Open Handicap Trot feature, Charron and three-time Quebec-Bred Series champion Maximuscle showed their heels to the field. They took the lead away from Beer Maggs (Kevin Maguire) after an opening quarter-mile in a speedy :28.4. They backed off the pace, held the field at bay and then poured it on down the stretch to win with ease by three and one-half lengths. R Rkadabra (Steeven Genois) finished second with Vival Angus (Jocelyn Gendron) third. The time of the race was 2:04.1.

The win was the ninth on the year for Maximuscle. The four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall posted trainer Maxime Velaye’s 20th win of the season. Maximuscle is owned and was bred by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, Que. He paid $3.30 to win as the wagering favourite.

That victory for Charron put him within one win, 47, of tying St Pierre at 48 for the driving title at 3R. With three wins already on the card, Charron needed only to win the 12th and last race on the program to tie for the title. He was driving Cliff Drummond, the 1-5 favourite, and led nearly the entire mile race, losing to a first-over and very determined Montezuma Bluechip and driver Jonathan Lachance, by three-quarters of a length.

The 10th race, Open Handicap Pace was the fastest mile on the sloppy track as race favourite D Gs Woodstock (Pascal Berube) just held off the pocket-sitting The Platinum Guy (Jonathan Lachance) to win by a short head in 2:01. Akoya (Jocelyn Gendron) was third.

The win was the seventh on the year for D Gs Woodstock, an eight-year-old gelded son of Yankee Cam who is trained by Guylaine Fortin for owner Daniel Surprenant of Saint-Valentin, Que. He paid $3.60 to win.

The Hippodrome 3R will be open for simulcasting seven days a week featuring the best Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing action in North America.

To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Hippodrome 3R.

(With files from QJC)

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