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Velaye Ecstatic Entering Prix D'Ete

Published: August 19, 2017 6:37 pm ET

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Maxime Velaye, who trains Sports Authority in the $200,000 Prix D'Ete on Sunday, August 20 at Hippodrome 3R, is overjoyed to have a shot at taking the classic event.

The energetic young trainer, who won his first training title at Trois-Rivieres two years ago, has developed with his stable and, despite his horse being a long shot, is happy just to be in it.

“He is feeling great,” Velaye said. “I was very pleased he went a fast mile last week [winning at Rideau Carlton from start to finish in 1:52.4], so he will not be surprised on Sunday following a fast pace.”

A gelded son of Sportswriter from the Good New Scooter mare Alcyon Semalu, Sports Authority is a half-brother to the $436,000 winner, Style Semalu (p, 5, 1:51). Sports Authority is owned by Guy Corbeil of Mirabel and will start from post seven.

“I am hoping he will do really well on Sunday.” Velaye said. “He has shown the speed in the past. I just need him to do it for four quarter miles and I think he can do it.

“I’m really on Cloud 9 right now,” Velaye said. “It is an honor for me to compete against the best four-year-old’s in the business. You always dream about being in a big race like the Prix D’Ete, but now it is no longer a dream but reality. I am proud to represent Trois-Rivieres because we are the local stable.”

Velaye and Sports Authority will have to best the 2-1 race favourite Sintra, who comes to Trois-Rivieres with seven wins in ten starts and a record of 1:47.2 taken July 1. His most recent effort was a 1:48.4 victory at Mohawk Racetrack two weeks ago.

Other contenders include Dr J Hanover, the fastest horse ever in Canada with a record of 1:46.4, and Awesomeness, who enters off a win at Mohawk Raceway in 1:50.

“I am hoping for a 'wicked' first half mile,” Velaye said. “I’m guessing the #8 horse, Dr J Hanover, is not going to back off from such an outside post and he has shown good early speed in the past.

“So, there is a good chance some of the inside horses will leave hard too,” Velaye said. “And if my horse can stay inside and save some ground, he can grab a piece of the pie in the stretch. Plus, I almost forgot, we will most certainly need a lot of luck too!"

Velaye remembered when another local favourite, Duc Dorleans, competed in the 2014 edition of the Prix D'Ete and hopes Sports Authority can have as much luck.

“Dan gave [Duc Dorleans] a perfect drive that day and they finished second,” Velaye said. “Maybe my horse can have the same kind of trip. I am confident that Pierre-Luc will give him the perfect drive.”

Velaye said he was too young to remember the glory days of the Prix D’Ete back at Blue Bonnet Raceway, “but I have seen many photos of the great horses that have won the race and the huge crowds that would come out to the races back then,” Velaye said.

“I am hoping that the race fans from all around Quebec and especially Trois-Rivieres will come out this Sunday and be cheering loud for us. We can most certainly use that energy to help us score an upset. Just like it would happen in the movies, anything can happen.”

(With files from the Quebec Jockey Club)

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