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'Atomic' Delivery In Series Opener

Published: May 22, 2016 9:43 pm ET

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The opening round of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers saw one favourite victorious, but another a half-length short of victory on Sunday, May 22 at the Hippodrome 3R.

With sunny skies, warm temperatures and a packed house, race fans were treated to an exciting race card highlighted by two divisions of the Quebec-Bred Series. The series features four preliminary rounds with the top eight point-earners coming back for their respective $30,000 finals on Sunday, June 26.

The horses and geldings were first up in the sixth race with track record holder and two-time series champion Atomic Million AM as the 4-5 race favourite from post seven for driver Sylvain Lacaille.

Atomic Million AM and Lacaille did not disappoint the crowd despite getting stung early by Mach On The Beach (Pascal Berube) to the opening quarter-mile in :27.4 before taking command for good.

After the half-mile in :57.1, C L Art Magic and driver/trainer Yves Filion came first over and started to gain ground on the race leader to the three-quarters in 1:26.2.

Then, Atomic Million AM and Lacaille felt the pressure and kicked in a :28.3 final quarter-mile to hold off both C L Art Magic for second and Mach On The Beach a close third. The margin of victory was just a half-length and the time of the race, the fastest mile on the program in 1:55.

The win was the second (consecutive) on the year for Atomic Million AM. The five-year-old gelded son of Million Dollar Cam is owned and trained by Alain Martin of Gatineau, Que. He paid $3.80 to win.

There were 10 four and five-year-old mares that went to post in the ninth race Quebec-Bred Series opening round and all eyes were on Bayama Farms' Wanda Bayama and trainer/driver Yves Filion. The four-year-old Western Ideal mare came to 3R just for the series off a 1:59 qualifying win at Rideau Carlton. Prior to that, in March, she scored a 1:51.4 triumph at Woodbine Racetrack in capturing the $54,400 final of the Series. So, rightly so, Wanda Bayama was the overwhelming 1-9 wagering favourite from post seven. The only trouble with that was that a 13-1 longshot by the name of Chaleurs Fantasy can’t read the toteboard.

Trained and driven by Carl Duguay, Chaleurs Fantasy left from post four and took the early lead away from Big Bertha (Stephane Brosseau) before the opening quarter in :28.4.

The five-year-old mare by Omar Khayam then led the field to the half-mile marker in :58.4 and that was when Filion, who had been sitting in fifth-place wiht Wanda Bayama, came first-over and started grinding their way towards the race leaders.

By the three-quarters in 1:27.3, it looked as if Wanda Bayama would show her class and collar Chaleurs Fantasy before the stretch drive, but that did not happen. Duguay kept his mare in gear and despite Wanda Bayama gaining ground with every stride, could not catch Chaleurs Fantasy by the finish wire as they won by three-quarters of a length in 1:57.3. Hawaiian Drummond (Richard Veilleux) was third.

Chaleurs Fantasy, who was bred and is owned by Elevage Baie Des Chaleurs of Port-Daniel, Que., made her first start of the year a winning one and returned $29.20 to her backers at the betting windows.

Night live racing gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R this Tuesday with first race post time at 7 p.m. The 10-race program features the opening round of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters.

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

(With files from QJC)

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