Quebec Series Champions Crowned

Only For Justice winning at Hippodrome 3R
Published: July 9, 2023 05:14 pm EDT

Three Quebec-Bred Series champions were crowned on Sunday afternoon (July 9) as Hippodrome 3R hosted the $30,000 finals for older trotters and pacers.

Only For Justice (pictured above) dominated the trotters with a 10-3/4-length romp in the first championship division for driver Robert Shepherd.

The morning line favourite, Frido PV, was scratched from the fourth race final, which turned it into a wide-open affair right from the start.

Race favourite Capteur De Reve (Guy Gagnon), who was going for an unpresented fifth championship title, left from post six and shot right to the lead on the first turn. With Orlys Pride (Jocelyn Gendron) getting the two-hole trip, Capteur De Reve tripped the teletimer at the quarter-mile in :28.2.

Looking comfortable on the lead, Capteur De Reve led to the half-mile in :58.2 as Stella Alpha (Pascal Berube), the lone mare in the field, went first-over with Only For Justice following second-over for Shepherd.

In the backstretch, Shepherd sent Only For Justice three-wide and they not only cleared the field, but blew by Capteur De Reve past the three-quarters in 1:28. And Only For Justice did not stop there as Shepherd let him have his head and he tore away from the field in the stretch, winning by open lengths in 1:57.4. Capteur De Reve was second with Sammy Justice (Francis Picard) third.

A seven-year-old Justice Hall gelding, Only For Justice earned his third Quebec series title after taking championships as a two and three-year-old in 2018 and 2019. The victory was his first in four starts this year while racing under the care of trainer Linda Belanger. The 20-time career winner with more than $563,000 in earnings is owned by breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc.

He paid $5.30 to win.

The eighth race final for pacing mares was decided at the finish as Kiss Me Bad collared favourite Celia Bayama late for trainer, driver and owner Steven Gagnon.

Celia Bayama (Stephane Brosseau) left from the inside and went right to the early lead with Lili GL (Pascal Berube) sitting the pocket seat to the first quarter in :28.

Fancy Girl (Jonathan Lachance) started up first-over with Platine Alpha (Jimmy Gagnon) second-over and Kiss Me Bad spotted third-over as they passed the half-mile in :57.4.

Heading into the backstretch, Platine Alpha went three-wide and then Steven Gagnon went four-wide with Kiss Me Bad while Celia Bayama continued to lead to three-quarters in 1:27.3.

Kiss Me Bad locked horns with Celia Bayama and raced as a team around the final turn and down the stretch, where Kiss Me Bad finally wore down Celia Bayama to win by a long neck in 1:55.4. Lili GL was third.

Kiss Me Bad, who won a pair of preliminary legs, is now three-for-six this year and has 21 victories lifetime. The seven-year-old duaghter of Badlands Hanover lifted her lifetime earnings to $83,637.

She paid $8.20 to win as the 3-1 second choice.

Trained and driven by Guy Gagnon, The Light Speed delivered on his pari-mutuel promise in the 10th race final for male pacers.

Aladdin (Stephane Brosseau) left from post six and easily got to the lead with Cyclone Joe (Sylvain Lacaille) getting the two-hole trip to the first quarter in a speedy :26.4.

At the half-mile, Aladdin tripped the teletimer in :55 as the race favourite, The Light Speed, moved up first-over and dropped into third place by the backstretch for a quick breather.

At the three-quarters in 1:23.3, Gagnon went first-over with The Light Speed and started to gain ground on Aladdin. Those two faced off down the stretch with The Light Speed going by to win in 1:53 flat. Aladdin settled for second, 2-1/4 lengths behind, with Cyclone Joe finished third. 

The Light Speed sped to his third straigth victory and now has nine wins from 13 starts this year. Lifetime, the five-year-old Moon Beam gelding has won 37 times while earning more than $270,000 for owner/breeder Michel Nolette.

The winner returned $2.70 to his backers.

On Sunday's undercard, Siddhartha took the $6,500 Preferred Handicap Pace as the 2-1 favourite wore down pacesetter BS Tyrrific for the quarter-length victory in 1:56.3. Stephane Brosseau drove the seven-year-old So Surreal gelding, who has won two of his last three starts in the Preferred class, for trainer/owner Louis-Phlippe Turcotte.

Steeve Fortin closed out the 11-race card by celebrating his first career training win when six-year-old pacer Do You See It drew off by five lengths in 1:56.2 with Jimmy Gagnon in the bike. A six-year-old gelded son of Hes Watching, Do You See It is owned by Gaetan Fortin and Kevin Gauthier.

The very first race provided the beginning excitement for the afternoon as Mach N Cheddar posted the highest win price of the 3R season at 54-1 odds, paying $111.80. Trainer/driver David Pilon drove the maiden-breaking three-year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar to a 1-1/2-length triumph in 1:59.3 for owner/breeder Jean Barrette.

Live racing resumes at 3R next Friday at 4 p.m. with the opening round of the Breeders Trophy Series for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. 

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

(With files from Quebec Jockey Club)

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.