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Hippodrome Holds Champions Gala

Published: November 19, 2017 2:41 pm ET

Last Comment: November 20, 2017 5:16 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The annual Champions Gala, which honoured the top horsemen and women and the leading horses of the 2017 harness racing season in Quebec, was held on Saturday (November 18) at the Hippodrome 3R. The event was sold out well in advance.

There were numerous special awards honouring the top men and women in harness racing this past season, plus the crowning of the champion horses in stakes races and overnight events. A great time was had by all, as track announcer Guy Lafontaine was again superb as the evening’s emcee along with his associate, Daniel Delise.

François Carignan is presented with a special lifetime achievement award with (left to right), track announcer Guy Lafontaine, director of racing Murielle Thomassin and GM Serge Lemieux ( photo)

Female Groom of the Year Award went to Joanie Leonard, a member of the Maxime Velaye Team Stable. She was very present throughout the summer to paddocks for the horses of the team. This young woman is very good at her business, efficient and competent.

Male Groom of the Year is Maxim Dubuc, a member of the Simon Delisle Team. Highly visible at the paddock in virtually every program, you will see him working on one or more horses with speed, efficiency and skill. A sure bet that Simon Delisle relies on this man.

A 4th Star Award went to Sylvain Fontaine. The 4th Star is awarded to a person from the business of harness racing that we do not often talk about, which often goes under the radar, but which is no less deserving. The honour goes to Fontaine, a driver, trainer, busy at the paddock on race days. Rarely one word higher than the other, he does well what he has to do and positions his horses well in the race without brutalizing them. Nicknamed ‘Balou’ for friends, his friends in the paddock cannot be counted anymore.

A 4th Star Award went to driver Steeven Genois. He is never discouraged, despite sometimes long periods without a trip to the winner’s circle. With the confidence of some trainers helping, he persevered and finally earned his share of victories. With the support of his wife Melanie, Steeven finally sees better days dawning on the horizon.

The Excellence Media Award was presented to Carole Dumont for the launch and production of the program ‘On Track,’ presented on Videotron as part of the Ma TV series. Carole gives all his heart and all his expertise in the realization of this series of broadcasts that were intended to open to a wide audience the doors of an unknown universe, harness racing. The show was hailed by the industry and the general public. A must see.

Trotter of the Year, Lucky Promesses, owned, bred and driven by Jérôme Lombart, trained by Andréane Lapierre. Her record at H3R was absolutely sensational. It reads: 22 starts (8-1-0) $ 20,832, record of 1.58.2 taken at Rideau. At home it was 2.00.4. She has had nine straight wins, including Bedford and Rideau. Hats off to Jerome Lombart, who with his patience brought the mare to this high level of performance.

The Pacer of the Year, Rainbow Palace, owned and driven by Francis Picard, trained by Dominique Picard, bought for $7,500 at the Forest City Auction, the daughter of Royal Mattjesty had a year of dreams in 2017 while producing only at home. Her record with us: 21 starts (7-2-5) $24,102, and especially a record of 1.54.3.

Owner of the Year, Kevin Maguire. New category introduced this year. Who other than Kevin Maguire to illustrate the investment in time, money in the industry, which gave him a little this year by crowning his mare Magestic M, winner of the Breeders Cup. A great success that Kevin had in 2017. Previous years have not always been rewarded like this one. Our man nevertheless continued to devote himself to his passion. His statistics at H3R also impressive in 2017, under a record of 75 starts (11-14-8) and C$94,094 in earnings.

Trainer of the Year, Francis Richard. New generation, new approach, great talent and extremely friendly personality, a big plus for the industry from the contribution of Francis this year. And the number of owners who trust him is a testament to his talent and expertise. A well-deserved title under a record of 109 (26-16-11) $142,139.

Driver of the Year, Stéphane Brosseau. Another outstanding ambassador for the industry. 2017 was the year of the great return to the summit, that of the recognition of many trainers in his talent out of the ordinary to drive with skill the young horses. A combination of events and people will have allowed Stéphane to experience a dream year, in a job he loves. His record: 277 (53-55-44) C$297,817, average URS of .355.

Personality of the Year, Claude Hamel. HP here, HP there, the HP of Claude Hamel the breeder is now known throughout Canada. The man has given a lot to the industry in recent decades. With his wife Céline Paquin, he has set up a farm which they can be rightly proud. This year again, the HP horses have shone, the most beautiful flagship being so far, the incredible HP Sissy, winner here and in the USA at the highest levels at Yonkers Raceway. And we're not talking about the many horses that Claude is associated with in Ontario, and they too race at the highest level.

The Special Achievement Award was presented to François Carignan, the director of operations at H3R. The Quebec Jockey Club paid tribute to the man who has worked the Trois-Rivières racecourse throughout the region and in Quebec over the last 50 years. To speak about François is to talk about his passion for the racetrack, the races, the horses and the customers with whom he has developed great relationships over the years, a complicity that is rarely seen. It was a superb way to close a very successful gala. The fifth annual since the revival of the industry by the Quebec Jockey Club.

2017 Champion Horses

Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter
Precieuse CC (Angus Hall - Marion Chocolate - Chocolatier) 2:03.3
Owner: Marie-Andrée Cornoyer Breeder: Raymond Larose
Trainer-driver: Claude Beausoleil

Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter
Ganymede Lavec (Ganymede - Promising Lavec - Mr Lavec) 2.07
Owner and breeder: Jérôme Lombart
Trainer: Andréane Lapierre
Driver: Jérôme Lombart

Two- Year-Old Filly Pacer
Lit De Rose (Bayama Leader - Intense - Shanghai Phil) 2:02
Owner-breeder: Guy Corbeil
Trainer: Maxime Velaye
Driver: Daniel Dubé

Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer
Stock (Sportswriter - Whycantiforgetyou - The Panderosa) 1:57
Proprietors: Sotirios Anastasopoulos, Gaétan Bono
Breeder: Sotirios Anastasopoulos
Trainer: Dany Fontaine
Driver: Stéphane Brosseau

Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter
Magestic M (Majestic Son - Striking Sybil - Striking Sahbra) 2.03.1
Owner - Breeder: Kevin Maguire
Trainer: Kevin Maguire
Driver: Louis-Philippe Roy

Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter
Dream Sensor (Muscle Mass - Noblesse - Monte Hall) 2.00.1
Owner-Breeder: Provocative Stable
Trainer: Maxime Velaye
Driver: Daniel Dubé

Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer
YS Tallia (Western Ideal - Tallinn Bolero - Arts Conquest) 1.58.4
Owner - breeder: Yves Sarrazin
Trainer: Michel Allard
Driver: Daniel Dubé

Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer
Wildriverbumblebee (Sportswriter - Alcor Semalu - Mach Three) 1.59.1
Breeder owner: Dr. John Bradbury
Coach: Francis Richard
Driver: Stéphane Brosseau

Older Mare Trotter
Artemis Duharas (Andover Hall - Athena Duharas - Victory Force) 2.03.1
Owner - breeder: Haras De l'Estrie
Trainer: Manon Levasseur
Driver: Raymond Gingras

Older Horse Trotter
Wildwild Men (Muscle Mass - Seeyouinthecircle - Angus Hall) 1.59.1
Owner: Catheline Pelletier
Breeder: Chantal Gravel
Coach: Isabelle Darveau
Driver: Rob Shepherd

Older Mare Pacer
HP Sissy (Up The Credit - Monica Blue Chip - Cams Card Shark) 1.55
Owner - breeder: Claude Hamel
Trainer: Jean Tourigny
Driver: Louis-Philippe Roy

Older Horse Pacer
Half A Billion (Sportswriter - Racey Date - Western Hanover) 1.52.2
Proprietors: Michel Letarte, Francois Letarte, Jean Allaire, Corey Giles
Breeder: Hudson Standardbred
Trainer: Francis Richard
Driver: Louis-Philippe Roy

New Track Record
Windsun Cheyenne
Trainer and owner, Gina Bragagnolo
Driver: Stéphane Brosseau
1½ mile, 2.58.1, August 27 (Race 5)

(Quebec Jockey Club)

November 20, 2017 - 5:16 pmWhat a nice story on the

What a nice story on the great year they had. Congrats to the writer, for mentioning so many people's names. 3R is trying hard to keep harness racing in Quebec.

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