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Filion Captures The Ben Hur Cup

Published: June 24, 2018 5:59 pm ET

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On Sunday (June 24) at Hippodrome 3R, the inaugural Ben Hur Cup pitted two great harness drivers, the champion, Sylvain Filion, against the challenger, Louis-Philippe Roy.

And the champion prevailed, as Filion won four of the eight races in the competition. The score was close through the first seven races, as Filion led by only one point over ‘LPR,’ 45 to 44. But that was before the final race in the challenge.

In the ninth race, Filion was driving All You Can Dream, a three-year-old filly by Sportswriter that was making her pari-mutuel debut off a 2:03.4 qualifying win at H3R last week for owner and trainer Harold Duguay of Pabos.

Filion left from Post 3 and traded the early lead with A R Sublime (driven by Jocelyn Gendron). Filion then pulled away from the field, and he led by 12 lengths at the three-quarters in 1:26. Filion and his mount then opened up down the stretch. The duo ultimately won by 24 open lengths in an amazing 1:56. LPR was a distant second place.

LPR took the immediate lead in the Ben Hur Cup as he sent Loves A Challenge ($2.80) to the lead by the opening quarter mile in the second race and led the rest of the way. He won in a romp in 1:56.1. Sylvain Filion was fourth with Evergreen Artist.

Filion came right back in the third race, as he wired the field with Lune Bleu ($2.90), her third straight win, in 1:59. LPR was game with Yoshi from Post 8. He collared Filion after the half, but then Filion stuffed him back in the two-hole and they finished second behind Lune Bleu.

LPR then started to edge away with points over Filion, leading 28 to 22 after the fifth race; but then Filion made up ground in the sixth race with a second-place finish (the score at that point was LPR 30, Filion 28).

Filion then wired the field in Race 7 with Dry Creek Image ($8.50), but LPR was a game second (so then the score was tied, LPR 37 and Filion 37).

Filion then put himself in the lead going into the final race, as he gave Bet I Can Fly ($3.20) a second-over trip, then three-wide on the final turn, to pass LPR and Pantheon Seelster in the stretch for the victory. The score going into the final race of the Ben Hur Cup was Filion 45 and LPR 44. For Filion, it was a driving triple, his third winner on the afternoon.

Filion then crushed the field in the ninth race and took home the inaugural Ben Hur Cup.

As per the wager between Filion and LPR, well, it started raining after the eighth race, so LPR pulling Filion around the track in a race bike will have to wait until another day that they are both at H3R.

The first race on the program was the mare’s division of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers.

Before the start of the Ben Hur Cup, introductions of the two gladiators were done in both French and English by none other than the great announcer Jean Desautels. And when he introduced Sylvain Filion, Filion came on the track with one of the greatest Quebec-bred horses ever, Goliath Bayama, whom his father, Hall of Famer, Yves Filion, bred, owned, trained and drove to greatness.

It was Imagine Speed and driver Tyler Jones who won the opening round of the series. The duo went right to the lead. Race favourite Skyfall Sena (Mario Lachance) left from Post 6 and grabbed the two-hole as they went to the opening quarter mile in :28.3.

Then at the half mile in :58.2, Queen Elsa, with driver Stephane Brosseau, started up first-over, which flushed Skyfall Sena and Lachance to pull from the pocket and come first-over against Imagine Speed to the three-quarters in 1:28.3.

Brosseau then took Queen Elsa three-wide and those three horses were all neck and neck as they started down the stretch.

Queen Elsa began to fade in the stretch, as Skyfall Sena dug in held off Imagine Speed at the finish to win by a neck in 1:57.4. Godiva Mackiavelyc (Pascal Berube) closed well to be third.

It was the fifth win this year for Skyfall Sena. The five-year-old daughter of Goliath Bayama is trained and owned by Alain Martin of Gatineau and paid $3.20 to win.

In Race 10, the horse division of the Quebec-Bred Series, it was Dance With Joe and driver Daniel Dulude, and they would not let anyone pass them by.

Leaving from Post 3, Dance With Joe went right to the front, but was not only challenged first-over by Noplay (Melanie Plourde), but also three-wide by C L Sportaction and driver Jonathan Lachance.

Those three raced past the opening quarter in :28.3, then :57.3 to the half when Noplay backed off the took the two-hole trip, leaving C L Sportaction first-over with Wildriverbumblebee (Sylvain Filion) second-over.

To the three-quarters in 1:26.3, Dance With Joe and Dulude kept C L Sportaction from getting the lead. Filion then took Wildriverbumblebee three-wide on the final turn and was coming after the lead down the stretch, but Dance With Joe was the strong horse and won by a quarter-length in 1:55.3. Wildriverbumblebee was second with HP Patriote (Pascal Berube) third.

For Dance With Joe, a five-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe, it was his fourth win from eight starts this year, which makes him the winningest horse at H3R so far this season. He paid $10.60 to win for trainer Christine Davignon. Dulude, of Ste-Martine owns Dance With Joe.

Track Notes: Live racing will resume at H3R on Tuesday evening with two divisions of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotting mares and horses. The mare’s division is headlined by Y S Suzanne, who is seeking her third consecutive win. The horse division will feature the great rivalry between Capteur De Reve, Kinnder Dangerous and Holiday Party.

Post time Tuesday evening is 6:30 pm.

For a free race program, visit quebecjockeyclub.com.

The Quebec Fair Racing Circuit was held at Nouvelle Saturday and the all-time track trot mark was set by Mr Logan Mirox, driven by owner-trainer Michel Audet. The duo won in 2:02.4, which eclipsed the previous mark of 2:03 set by Ocean Mist Beauty and Carl Duguay back on 07-11-2015.

To view the harness racing results for Sunday at H3R, click the following link: Sunday Results – Hippodrome 3R.

(Quebec Jockey Club)


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