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Filion Hoping For Good Trip To, And At, Hambo Day

Published: August 3, 2012 10:28 am ET

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Sylvain Filion has some good memories from the Meadowlands. On Hambletonian Day (Saturday, August 4) he will be hoping for good trips over the fabled one-mile course --- but he is also just hoping for a smooth trip down to the East Rutherford, New Jersey oval this time.

In the summer of 2001, Filion won both the U.S. Pacing Championship and Breeders Crown final there in the sulky of Goliath Bayama.

Saturday, he’ll be back for the $253,700 Lady Liberty Pace with his father Yves’ pacing mare Rebeka Bayama and his first crack at the $1.5-million Hambletonian with three-year-old trotter Prestidigitator, trained by Dustin Jones for Quebec’s Ecurie Synergie.

“I always dreamed of winning three races – the North America Cup, ‘cause my dad did it (with Runnymede Lobell), the Jug and the Hambo. Having a shot like I do this year, that’s special,” said Filion, 43.

Although members of the Filion clan have won almost every major race in North American harness racing, none has yet captured the Hambletonian.

That drought could end Saturday if things go his way, Filion said.

“I always had faith in this horse (Prestidigitator). His effort in the elimination was spectacular. It’s the first time I’ve ever really pushed him, and he responded well. If I get a decent trip, I got a shot.”

2012 Hambletonian Elim - Uncle Peter - 1:53.3 (Prestidigitator Finishes Third)

Third to Uncle Peter in his elimination after a troubled outside trip, Prestidigitator drew Post 6 for the final. That suits Filion fine.

“I’m very pleased with Post 6. I didn’t want to be more outside than that. I’ll see them leave then weigh my options.”

Filion also is hoping for a smoother trip to the Meadowlands this time.

He and driver Jody Jamieson endured three hours of repeated flight cancellations at Toronto airport last Saturday until Jamieson finally took matters into his own hands and called a friend with a private plane.

They flew out of Burlington airport with him 30 minutes later, but he couldn’t get closer than the Poconos because of the stormy weather. Driving the last stretch through pouring rain in a rented car, they made it to the Meadowlands just as the fourth race was going off. Filion’s Hambo elimination was Race 5, and Jamieson was in the next one (which he won with Knows Nothing).

They plan to fly again early Saturday morning --- by private plane.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)

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