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Big Year Keeps Berthiaume Going


Published: December 16, 2011 11:47 pm ET

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Regardless of where Upfront Hoosierboy finishes in Woodbine Racetrack's $38,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday, he’s been a winner this year for Quebec-based owner Richard Berthiaume.

The five-year-old son of Western Hanover was a $115,000 (U.S.) purchase at a sale last January at the Meadowlands. He’s since collected more than $159,000 in a productive campaign which includes 22 top-three finishes and a new lifetime mark of 1:50.

“He paid for himself,” said Berthiaume, who is wrapping up another excellent year.

In addition to Upfront Hoosierboy, three other horses from his stable earned more than $100,000 this year.

Pacing mare Voelz Hanover captured the $195,000 final of the Forest City Pace at the Western Fair District and ended up with more than $200,000, pushing her lifetime earnings past $1.1 million. Berthiaume plans to race her again next year as a seven-year-old. “She’s a warrior, and as good as ever,” he said. “When she doesn’t want to anymore, that’s when we’ll stop her.”

His three-year-old trotting filly Oh Sweet Baby made more than $368,000, much of it coming in her final two starts, a runner-up finish in the $300,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and a third-place finish (at 75-1) in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final. Three-year-old pacing colt Odysseus Bluechip, for his part, contributed more than $140,000. They’re all trained by Ben Baillargeon.

Thanks to his four stars, Berthiaume’s 16-horse stable will again finish up with about $1 million in earnings this season. “It was a good year,” he said. “Everything’s going well.”

As usual, he’s recycled a large chunk of those earnings --- almost $400,000 this year --- into new prospects at the yearling sales. He bought six and has another three of his own breeding.

“Racing is my great pleasure,” said Berthiaume, 65, a standardbred owner for 40 years. “If I didn’t have this, I’d be like Tiger Woods without golf.”

His dream is to win a Breeders Crown or Hambletonian, and he’s getting warm. Voelz Hanover finished second in the Breeders Crown final for pacing mares in 2010; Yursa Hanover was runner-up in the Breeders Crown final for two-year-old trotting fillies in 2008 and third in the trotting mares’ final in 2010, and this season Oh Sweet Baby finished third in the final for three-year-old trotting fillies. “My time’s coming,” Berthiaume said.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Woodbine, click the following link: Saturday Entries- Woodbine Racetrack.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)

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