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Maximuscle Breaks, Recovers At 3R

Published: May 25, 2016 10:07 am ET

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The first Tuesday night live race program of the 2016 season at the Hippodrome 3R provided race fans with plenty of excitement, especially in the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters.

While the older-horse division may not have featured pari-mutuel wagering with just a three-horse field, it ended up being the best race of the season at the Hippodrome 3R.

Heading the field was three-time series champion, Maximuscle, taking on series champion and track record holder, Seeyou Men with Promesses Imperial rounding out the field.

Held between the fifth and sixth races on the program, the race began as a near disaster for driver Mario Charron and Maximuscle, as the five-year-old son of Angus Hall went off-stride after the start. That gave way for Seeyou Men and driver Robert Shepherd to have things their own way on the lead with Promesses Imperial (driven by Jerome Lombart) sitting in the pocket-trip.

They went to the opening quarter in :29.3 and then to the half mile in 1:00.3, but when Shepherd looked over his shoulder, there was Charron and Maximuscle back on stride and coming after the race leader.

By the three-quarter mile marker in 1:30.2, Maximuscle had not only collared Seeyou Men, but had the lead by a neck. Then at the top of the stretch, Seeyou Men was back in the lead by a slim head and in a dramatic stretch drive to the finish, Maximuscle came on in the final strides to the wire to win by a neck over Seeyou Men in 1:59.4 with Promesses Imperial the obvious third place finisher.

It was the first start of the season for Maximuscle, who is trained by Maxime Velaye and was bred and is owned by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC.

“I thought after driving this horse for most of his career he would be OK behind the starting gate tonight,” Charron said about Maximuscle. “But even at age five I still must treat him like a two-year-old and talk to him and make sure he is clam getting out of the starting gate. He has done this every year of his career, but towards the end of last season at age four he was much better, but not tonight.

“Once I had him back on-stride I saw that Robert (Shepherd) was going to back down the pace even more after the half mile,” Charron explained, “and my horse wanted to go, so I let him move to the outside and he was just great. By the three-quarters I knew we had him, but what a great finish for just a three-horse race. Robert’s horse was game down the stretch, but Maximuscle was the better horse tonight.”

Because Maximuscle broke stride off a qualifying race, he must qualify again before the judges in order to enter next week’s second round of the series; and with no opportunity to do so, it is likely that Maximuscle will not be able to race until the third round.

For Charron, it was his first win after four race cards held at 3R this season. That is uncharacteristic for Charron, who last year was second by one win to Denis St-Pierre for the driving title.

“That’s Mario Charron,” Charron laughed. “With so many new drivers at 3R this year, I really do not get that much opportunity nor some of the better horses to drive early in the season. But now that the stakes season is underway, I will do better as many trainers are just getting their young horses to the races. But I am glad to get that first win finally.”

There were two mare divisions of the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series Tuesday.

The first division (Race 3) saw SOS Revange and driver Gaetan Lamy sit patiently in fourth place as Beauty Road (Guy Gagnon) parked out the favourite, Viva Bayama (Carl Duguay), for most of the mile race.

Then, with a strong move on the final turn, Lamy was able to turn SOS Revange loose and the mare kicked in a :29.3 last quarter mile to win going away by two and one-quarter lengths in 2:01.4. Viva Bayama was second with the pocket-sitting National Trace (Stephane Brosseau) third.

Now undefeated in two starts this year for trainer Francine Merrissettel and owner/breeder Monalisa Pagliericci of Stanbridge Station, QC, SOS Revange, a four-year-old mare by Kadabra, scored a lifetime mark and paid $6.60 to win.

In the second division (Race 6), Mario Charron made it a driving double on the night with SOS Striking Monte.

Kim Sorel (Martin Gringas) left sharply from post six to take the early lead and gave way to SOS Harddrive (Pascal Berube) after the opening quarter mile in :29.1.

SOS Harddrive then led to the half mile in :59.1 and it was then that Charron made his winning move with SOS Striking Monte. They brushed to the lead and were in command at the three-quarters in 1:29. They held on through the finish to win by one and one-half lengths in 1:59.4.

Bamie Benjo (Louis-Philippe Roy) closed well from fifth place to be second with Kim Sorel third.

SOS Strking Sahbra is owned by Francis Prouix of Saint-Pie-De-Guire, QC and paid $6.10 to win.

“This is a very nice mare,” Charron said. “I think she will do very well in this series.”

Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R.

(Quebec Jockey Club)


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