Rockin Ron Triumphs In Prix D'Ete

Published: August 21, 2016 04:58 pm EDT

Rockin Ron and driver Yannick Gingras fought off fan favourite Wiggle It Jiggleit to give trainer Ron Burke his second straight victory in the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at Hippodrome 3R on a rainy Sunday afternoon (August 21).

With the inside post in a short field of five, reigning U.S. Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit and driver Montrell Teague were the overwhelming favourites at 1-9, with their rivals dismissed at double-digit odds. However, Quebec native Gingras fired Rockin Ron out from post five to take the lead ahead of Wiggle It Jiggleit through a :27 first quarter. As Gingras backed down the pace to the half in :57.1, Teague made his move with Wiggle It Jiggleit in front of the grandstand and duelled with Rockin Ron into the backstretch. The favourite gained a slight advantage on the outside as they raced past three-quarters in 1:23.4, but Rockin Ron fought back in the final turn and drew clear down the lane to win in 1:52 flat over the 'good' track. Wiggle It Jiggleit settled for the runner-up role while Rockin In Heaven and Jody Jamieson followed in third.

"It was a great race, we made a little excitement out of it," said Gingras. "Obviously, Wiggle It Jiggleit was the best horse in the race -- I knew that, everybody knew that -- but we got a little bit of an advantage there when I made the front and I was able to control the race. I knew the only way I could win the race was if he did pull the two-hole. If he had sat behind me, I think he maybe would have beaten me. But I was going pretty slow, I was forcing his hand. Like I said, I thought that was the only way I could beat him was to have him outside of me the last half."

"Yannick was driving the horse as perfect as he could have done and 'Wiggle It' pulled and tried to go at them and they did their best and put on a hell of a show," said assistant trainer Mickey Burke Jr., who was also at 3R for the stable's victory in the Prix D'Ete last year with All Bets Off. "I was really glad it worked out the way it did. The best thing is that everybody got to compete in a good, solid race. With a five-horse field, I was a little worried about it just being a dominant thing."

Rockin Ron was sent postward at odds of 14-1 as part of the Burke entry -- coupled with Rock N Roll World, who finished fourth -- and returned $30.40 for a $2 Win ticket. Asap Hanover and Louis-Philippe Roy completed the field.

This was the second time that Rockin Ron defeated Wiggle It Jiggleit in a signature Canadian race. His last victory was also against the Teague trainee in the Confederation Cup in May at Flamboro Downs, completing a stretch of 10 straight wins in a 1:50.1 national record mile.

"The horse couldn't have raced any better," said Burke. "And it was probably to our advantage with having the rain and everything; it probably made it a little slower of a race. But he raced great at Flamboro and he raced great [today], and he's been a great horse for us. Everyone loves the horse."

Rockin Ron earned his 11th win of the year from 19 starts and lifted his seasonal earnings to $424,850. The Real Desire gelding, who is a career winner of 20 races and $549,768, is campaigned by Pennsylvania owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Rtc Stables Inc.

While the all-age track record stands at 1:50.3, courtesy of past Prix D'Ete winners Sunfire Blue Chip and All Bets Off, Rockin Ron's 1:52 winning time was new mark for an aged pacing gelding. It lowered Atomic Million AM's record by three-fifths of a second.

TRACK NOTES: The Hippodrome 3R trackman, Sylvain Blais, did a superb job with the racing surface on Sunday as, despite the rain, two tracks records were set early on the program before the downpours, and seven of the winners on the day recorded lifetime marks. Both track records came in the third round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old pacers.

Gingras scored his first of three wins on the day in the third race Future Stars division for colts. He sent Makasi to the lead by the opening quarter-mile and never looked back, scoring in 1:55.2 in his maiden victory. Trained by Helene Fillion for owner/breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson, Que, Makasi is sired by Shanghai Phil and paid $2.40 to win. The previous track divisional track record was set 23 years ago by Canaco Score (1993) and was tied by Hall Bro in 2013. It was one of the longest standing records at 3R.

In the next $7,500 division for pacing fillies, Canada’s newest Hall of Famer, Yves Filion, also led from the quarter-mile to the finish with Yaris Bayama in 1:56.4. Her clocking erased the prior divisional record of 1:57.3 held by First Girl (2014) and HP Sissy (2015). The daughter of Sportswriter, trained by Filion and owned and bred by his Bayama Farms, has been razor sharp all season. The win was Yaris Bayama’s third in five starts and followed a lifetime-best 1:52.4 victory on August 12 in a $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division at Mohawk Racetrack. Yaris Bayama paid just $2.10 to win.

The other colt division was won also won by Filion with Yogi Bayama ($2.10) in 1:59.1 and the other filly division went to Carl Duguay’s Chaleurs Melodie ($6.70), driven to victory by Daniel Dube in 2:00.

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

(With files from QJC)

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