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More Than A Drivers Tournament

Published: June 4, 2016 5:21 pm ET

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If there ever was more of an incentive to win Sunday’s All-Star Drivers Tournament at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, Denis St-Pierre should capture the event hands down.

The Quebec native is ready to take on fellow local horseman Mario Charron, and throw in harness racing greats John Campbell, Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick, Daniel Dube, Sylvain Filion and Jody Jamieson, and St-Pierre is in awe.

“What great talent and ability all of these drivers are bringing to 3R Sunday,” St-Pierre said. “That is enough incentive for me to be on my best game, but I guess you can say that I have a special 'ace' up my sleeve for tomorrow.”

Sure, St-Pierre knows all these horses. It’s his home track where he was won the driving title the last two years. He has driven some in the past, knows their quirks and knows the ability of the other horses and drivers in the race. It’s a fair advantage in his favour.

“My special 'ace' is coming to see me at the autograph session,” St-Pierre said with a smile. “I will get up from my seat when she arrives and walk in front and give her a big hug and kisses and then I will cry.”

See, St-Pierre is going to meet his half-sister, Nathalie Cartier, for the very first time at the autograph session.

“Six months ago, this woman contacts me to be her friend on Facebook,” St-Pierre explained. “Then one night she sends me personal message that she has to talk with me. I was tired and did not want to. Then she writes again and again so I call her.

“She asks me if I am the professional harness racing driver,” St-Pierre explained. “Then she tells me about father and that I am her half-brother. Boy oh boy, I nearly fell on the floor. We have since talked and talked and she has met other members of my family, but because of my schedule between Toronto and Montreal, I have not been able to actually meet her yet."

That special meeting will take place Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R.

“She called me and said that she is coming to meet me at the tournament,” St-Pierre said. “And that she is expecting me to win it for her. If that is not enough of an incentive for me to be at my best, then nothing is.

“Rain or shine tomorrow, I do not care,” St-Pierre added. “I have a new angel in my life and she will be there rooting for me so I will be doing more than my very best on the track.”

St-Pierre said that after the races, the family and newest member will all go out for dinner and catch up on a lifetime.

The meet and greet autograph session gets underway in the clubhouse at 12:15 p.m. and first race post time is 1:30 p.m.

Track announcer Guy Lafontaine, known for his trademark start of every race, “Hippty Hippty Howe BOOM,” will be calling the races in both French and English. The 3R track commentator Daniel Delisle will be joined by Harnesslink’s Steve Wolf and they will conduct live interviews after every race, also in French and English.

Most racetracks, wagering websites and OTBs will be carrying the Hippodrome 3R signal. There is a free program available at quebecjockeyclub.com along with a link to watch the races live on the internet via Roberts Communications.

There are 10 races on the Sunday program; the eight drivers will compete in races two through nine. The point system is 1st – 50 points, 2nd – 25 points, 3rd – 12 points, 4th – 8 points, 5th – 5 points, 6th – 2 points, and 7th and 8th – 0 points. In the event of a scratched horse, that driver will get an average of his seven drives in the tournament.

(With files from QJC)


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