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Half A Billion Reaches In 3R Invitational

Published: June 18, 2017 5:04 pm ET

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Half A Billion was nearly upended by the lone mare in the race, HP Sissy, in a classic finish in Sunday’s (June 18) $8,000 Invitational Pace at Hippodrome 3R.

While Half A Billion did post his fifth straight win and seventh triumph of the season, the five-year-old gelded son of Sportswriter had to really work the final quarter mile to beat the mare, HP Sissy.

HP Sissy and driver Stephane Brosseau left sharply from post two to begin the eighth-race feature and took command before the opening quarter mile in :27.4 with Art Again (Stephane Gendron) sitting the pocket trip. Then, as they passed the half-mile marker with a breather in :57, HP Sissy was still on top as Bali (Marie Claude Auger) came first-over, giving the 1-9 overwhelming favourite Half A Billion (Pierre-Luc Roy) great second-over cover.

It was up the backstretch when Roy sent Half A Billion three-wide, moving into second place alongside HP Sissy at the three-quarters in 1:25.1. But HP Sissy was not giving up an inch to Half A Billion, using the inside position to gain an advantage on the final turn and starting down the stretch. Ultimately, Half A Billion proved to be too much in deep stretch, collaring HP Sissy and Brosseau in the final strides to the wire, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:54. Bali was third.

Half A Billion (foreground) just reaches in time to collar HP Sissy

Trained by Francis Richard for co-owners Michel & Francois Letarte, Jean Allaire and Corey Giles, Half A Billion paid $2.20 to win.

“I was worried,” Richard said after the race. “She (HP Sissy) raced iron tough. I knew Roy had to go three-wide when he did, but HP Sissy was strong right to the finish.”

Brosseau and Mario Lachance led all drivers with three winners apiece on the program.

Live racing resumes Tuesday evening; first race post time is 7:00 p.m.

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

(Quebec Jockey Club)

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