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Five-Mile Race Set

Published: August 28, 2009 3:31 pm ET

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This Sunday, Sulky Quebec, in Quebec City, will feature the 100th anniversary edition of 'Le 5 Milles' – a five-mile, 10-lap tradition known as the Standardbred Marathon.

Two concepts, tradition and history, are cherished in Quebec City. Quebec horsemen are part of that heritage, preserving their age-old custom of long distance racing, which was started back in 1910 with the race Le 5 Milles, and has been held annually for 100 years since. It is Quebec’s oldest horse race, and attracts fans of 10 to 15 thousand each year. In the 1940s and '50s, there was as many as four five-mile races held each year. Now, there is only one contested annually. The race is generally comprised of anywhere from 12 to 20 starters, sometimes more.

This year, 15 starters will line up behind the gate, with their owners and trainers hoping to have the honour of their horse winning the 100th anniversary edition of such a historic event. It is not an easy race to win, however, with usually only half of the contestants finishing the race. Last year, only six of the 16 starters were able to finish the race.

Horse Weston Gentry held the Quebec 5-Mile record of 12:07, set on October 17, 1920, for 12 years until Angus Peter became the first horse to break the 12-minute mark in the year 1932. Judge Amason was extremely successful in Le 5 Mille, winning eight over a five-year period from 1953 to 1957. Other successful contestants include The Heir, which won seven from 1943 to 1947, and most recently Sound Machine, who captured five victories in a six-year span from 1993 to 1998.

This year, race favourite MG Éclair, winner of last year’s 5-mile event in 11 minutes and 12 seconds, will look to earn back-to-back Le 5-Milles titles. Cams Predator, winner of the 2007 five-mile race, is making his return to the race after not competing in last year's race, under the guide of new trainer Colin Johnston. The gelding will be making his first start for new trainer and will also be looking to win his second five mile title in just two attempts.

Making his third appearance in the 5-mile marathon after finishing second in his first two attempts -- once to Cams Predator and once to MG Éclair -- is Canaco Pistol, looking for his first 5-Mile victory. Staying Forever and Its Not Yours are also looking for a piece of the $15,100 purse, making their second appearance in the race, after finishing fourth and sixth last year. In addition to the purse, entrants receive $200 for starting in the race and an additional $200 if they finish the race.

The race looks to be a successful one with both experienced contenders and inexperienced contenders promising to make the historic race an exciting one for the thousands of fans predicted to be in attendance.

Click here to view Sunday's harness racing entries at Sulky Quebec.

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