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Charron Reaches Milestone In Series

Published: July 26, 2015 7:02 pm ET

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Driver Mario Charron celebrated his 2,000th career win as he guided Voodoo Charm to victory during Sunday afternoon's fourth and final preliminary round of the Quebec-Bred Series at Hippodrome 3R.

Three-year-old pacers were featured on the Sunday afternoon program with an event for each sex in their last preliminary leg of the Quebec-Bred Series, with the top horses advancing to their respective $65,000 final on September 6.

Nine of the originally-programmed 10 horses went postward in the filly division for $8,250, with Voodoo Charm, winner of two of her prelim starts, favoured by the bettors at 2-5. (In the Quebec program, nine or fewer horses as entrants dictate a purse of $7,500; if 10, one division goes for $8,250; if 11 or more, the event is split for $7,500 a division.)

Voodoo Charm visited "Victory Lane" -- but only after a seven-minute inquiry into the action early on the second turn.

Big Bertha and Sylvain Lacaille left the gate quickly to get the lead before the :27.2 opening split, with Charron moving just before the quarter from third with 'Voodoo.' As Voodoo Charm, who had made an early break in her previous start, started to go around Big Bertha to the lead into the second curve, the two came in very close quarters, and Big Bertha took a small stumble-step, which was the source of the inquiry, but no reason for placing was eventually found.

Voodoo Charm went on to post splits of :57.2 and 1:27.4, and despite bearing out slightly in the lane, she was strong to the wire, winning by a clear margin over Big Bertha in 1:57.2.

The meet's leading trainer, Maxime Velaye, combined with Charron, who earlier had swept the Daily Double, to establish this Ponder filly as the favourite for her final for owners Yvan Mondoux, Guy Corbeil, Alexandre Morin and Francois Laverdiere.

Horseman Dany Fontaine probably wishes the finals were next week, as his trainee Mach On The Beach has really found himself in his last three starts, and on Sunday he took a new mark of 1:54.3 in winning the final $7,500 colt and gelding elimination.

Driver Pascal Berube sent the Mach Three gelding swiftly out of the gate, with the rest of the field of five in a post positional lineup. (Western Bayama, the division's defending champion, was scratched; in fact, trainer Yves Filion had a scratch in each series events -- filly Wanda Bayama, who had won two prelims, was also withdrawn.)

Sitting next-to-last early didn't sit too well with odds-on favourite Sugarsam, though, and the meet's leading driver, Denis St Pierre, moved him out mid-backstretch to rush at the leader by the :28.1 quarter. Berube played some hardball, though, and while challenging in the middle of the second turn, Sugarsam took some nasty steps and drifted wide (not unprecedented behaviour for him), finally settling back in last as Mach On The Beach got to the half in :56.2.

At a bad positional disadvantage but game as can be, Sugarsam made another move frontward from about the same spot he had done a half-mile earlier, getting to Mach On The Beach by the 1:25 third quarter mark. Sugarsam behaved himself around the final bend this time, but he could not get by the determined pacesetter in a bitter stretch duel, with Mach On The Beach hanging on by a neck at the wire.

Mach On The Beach didn't race at two and had been off the board in his first 10 career starts in Ontario until making the switch to 3R, where he has a record of 2-1-0 in three races, and he has shown that he should be competitive in the championship for Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc.

Hippodrome 3R will now shift its focus to another type of horsepower for the next two weeks, as the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix auto race will be the focus. The casino and simulcast wagering will be available at 3R during this period, and on the return card Wednesday, August 12, two-year-old trotters will begin their preliminaries in the Quebec-Bred Series.

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

(With files from QJC)

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