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Dion's Hambletonian Day 'Memory'

Published: August 13, 2015 9:42 am ET

Last Comment: August 13, 2015 4:13 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

René Dion won’t soon forget his first trip to the Hambletonian.

Watching the horse he trains and co-owns, Flanagan Memory, draw off to a three-length upset victory in the $301,500 John Cashman Memorial Trot at The Meadowlands on Hambletonian day left him both elated and numb.

“I was thrilled to be there, especially racing one, but I was also nervous. He warmed up good but with a 12-horse field, you never know. You need some breaks as well. I was in the paddock when the race went, and I thought ‘my God, he (driver Brian Sears) is giving him a good trip.’ He positioned him exactly where he wanted, never put him on the rail. Then he just took off, which surprised me. He made it look easy, which it never is against horses of that calibre,” Dion, 45, said Wednesday in Quebec, where he spent the day celebrating the birthday of seven-year-old son Alexis.

Flanagan Memory’s Cashman win was his second in as many weeks against top horses at The Meadowlands, but prior to that, the five-year-old son of Kadabra had gone more than a year without a victory.

“His four-year-old campaign was tough, but he’s a great animal with a great attitude. It’s such a big step from three to four, going against aged horses like Sebastian K. He raced well and, most importantly, we still had a horse at the end of the year. This year, we started him a little later, wanting to keep him a little fresher for the big races at the end of the year,” Dion said.

Owned by Dion and Liette Flanagan of Repentigny, Que. (daughter of the horse's breeder, the late Michel Flanagan), Flanagan Memory now has 13 lifetime wins and earnings in excess of $828,000. The Cashman was his richest victory and Dion’s as well, eclipsing their $300,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final triumph at three.

Dion, who trains an Ontario-based stable of seven with girlfriend Suzie Kerwood, said the plan is to race their star next in the $175,000 Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs on Aug. 21, with the Maple Leaf Trot and Breeders Crown possibilities for later. “We’ll take one race at a time, hope for the best,” he said, “but so far, so good.”

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

August 13, 2015 - 4:13 pmFelicitations Rene, Pierre

Felicitations Rene, Pierre Touchette serait fier de toi. Bonne chance le restant de la saison.

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