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The Story Of Caroluzzo

Published: July 9, 2020 1:14 pm ET

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Since the day his homebred was foaled, owner/breeder Michael Cote Gagnon of Terrebonne, Quebec knew that his trotter was special. And Gagnon gave him a special name, Caroluzzo.

The two-time former Quebec champion trotter is now 11 and you cannot tell that from the way he has been beating his younger rivals at the Hippodrome 3R.

Caroluzzo headlines this Friday's Preferred-Handicapped Trot (Race 7) at H3R, and the beautiful chestnut Musclesextrodinair horse is seeking his third consecutive victory.

Winning is nothing new for Caroluzzo, as he’s been doing it since he first started racing at age two.

Gagnon has taken the time to explain when Caroluzzo was foaled and how he got his name.

“Caroluzzo is the last foal of a mare that I bought in Ontario, named Sardula,” said Gagnon. “But, above all, he is the only Quebec offspring of the Musclextrodinair (Muscle Yankee) stallion that I had discovered and purchased in Delaware. The racing industry in Quebec had collapsed in the months before he was born and I no longer knew what I would do with all these mares full of my Quebec stallion.

“My mother, Elaine Cote, insisted that we keep her (Sardula) during the winter of 2009,” Gagnon said. “Destiny was going to be special for this horse. On March 28, 2009, my grandfather, whom I considered my own father, died suddenly of a heart attack. Our family was obviously in shock. As we were planning the funeral, on April 1st we received a call that Sardula was preparing to have her foal, two weeks ahead of the schedule, the same day my grandfather was cremated."

Gagnon owns a farm in Jupiter, Florida, and that is where Caroluzzo was foaled.

Michael Cote Gagnon, pictured with Caroluzzo shortly after he was foaled.

“What a surprise to discover this blond foal with four white legs,” Gagnon explained, “when you know that the mother was completely black! Of course, we saw a sign into this and we named it after my grandfather, who was named Carolus.

“The colt was trained by Jean Beaulieu at 18 months old in Florida, but he did not show any particular aptitude, according to him. Many laughed, 'he’s very beautiful, it will make a beautiful riding horse!'

“At three years old we brought him back to Florida because my mother didn't want him to stay alone in Quebec," Gagnon added. "But Donald Dupont found him so beautiful and well-formed that he insisted on trying him for a few weeks, which I accepted without much hope.

“We know the rest," Gagnon smiled.

“He is a horse that my mother has carefully raised. [He] is very calm for a stallion, and especially for a trotter," Gagnon said. "I never thought he would win not one, but two Trotter of the Year championships at Trois-Rivières, in 2015 and 2016. Daniel Martin and Dominique Michel have been training since his first qualification at Mohawk in 2012. They take jealous care of him.

“Although he won on different sized tracks in Ontario and Quebec, he loves the half mile track. He is not the fastest one (1:57.2 lifetime mark), but he is a war horse; enduring, and that often makes the difference. When you think he had no stakes at two and three, his earnings are close to $200,000 lifetime, which is very respectable with soon 40 career wins.”

Michael Cote Gagnon pictured driving Caroluzzo on the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit.

Caroluzzo will start from Post 6 on Friday and is the 3-1 second morning line choice for the race. Last week, Caroluzzo was able to lead from start to finish at H3R in 2:00.2. He won in a romp by four open lengths and paid a generous $20.20 to win.

“I’m very grateful for the work Stéphane Gendron has made with him over the years,” Gagnon said. “He has been his perfect match driver in his success. Richard Simard also makes a good pair with Caroluzzo, as evidenced by his latest victory last week. Although he did not have a good season last year, he bounced back this year and we are still as proud as he is not only popular on the track, but in the race paddock, too!

“It is not uncommon for people to ask to be posed with him,” Gagnon said. “It always gives us great pleasure because, yes, he is a horse of beauty. We hope being able to race him the rest of his career, if possible, as he will always represent something special for us, reminding us the love of our late father Carolus Côté."

Hoping to put an end to Caroluzzo’s winning ways will be the race favourite, Eau Naturelle, who is set to start from Post 5 for driver Steeven Genois. Last week, Eau Naturelle was a game second in her race, timed in 1:59.2. She already has three wins this season.

Other competitors include Upvote Hanover (Post 7), Stpattysday (Post 2) and Precieuse CC (Post 1).

As a special remembrance this year for Mother’s Day, Michael Cote Gagnon took a photo of Caroluzzo and driver Stephane Gendron and had it blown up and wrapped on the sides of his big horse trailer.

“I used that picture on my trailer for my mother on Mother’s Day,” Gagnon said. “It made her cry when she saw that photo as she entered the driveway at my farm in Florida.”

First-race post time on Friday afternoon will be at 4:00 p.m. This coming weekend, Hippodrome 3R will be hosting the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit, so there will be live racing both Saturday and Sunday with post time at 1:00 p.m.

For more information and a free race program, visit

To view the harness racing entries for Friday at H3R, click the following link: Friday Entries - Hippodrome 3R.

(Quebec Jockey Club)

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