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More Than A $200,000 Horse Race

Published: September 19, 2014 8:43 pm ET

Last Comment: September 20, 2014 9:20 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This Sunday the Quebec Jockey Club that runs the harness racing track Hippodrome 3R, which is half way between Montreal and Quebec City in the town of Trois-Rivieres, is hosting the revival of one of Canada’s most prestigious races, the Prix D’Ete.

The Grand Circuit race carries a purse of $200,000 and many of the best four-year-olds pacers in North America have entered. Eight horses will go a mile on 3R’s half-mile oval.

There is more to just a rich purse and good horses at the Hippodrome 3R. They have initiated a city and province-wide movement to bring back harness racing, which has been raced at this track for nearly 150 years.

This past Thursday was the launch of Prix D’Ete Weekend and working with the city, the province tourism board, also with local farms (crops, not horses) to get only fresh locally grown vegetables, even honey, for their menus, the team at 3R have put together a great program that is sure to grow every year.

Thursday featured a press conference with the drawing of post positions for the big race on Sunday.

A local horse owner, Jean Tourigny, that has a training facility for Standardbreds nearby 3R, has generously offered everyone that is bringing a horse to race in the Prix D’Ete to board them on his farm and stay there for free.

“It is so great how our horsemen, the city of Trois-Rivieres and Salon de Jeux Trois-Rivières, a subsidiary of Loto-Québec, has come out in support of our Prix D’Ete weekend,” said Vincent Trudel, the general manager of 3R. “It shows that harness racing is still a popular sport and industry in Quebec and we look forward to an exciting weekend at 3R.”

Saturday is Family Day and the Quebec Jockey Club is rolling out the red carpet to the community. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. there will be sulky trips around the racetrack with professional drivers, a BBQ, children’s farmyard with more than 25 different animals, pony rides, tours of the race paddock area and workshops with veterinarians, farriers and race judges. The live racing card Saturday night starts at 7:30 p.m.

Then on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. the track opens up for Prix D’Ete Day.

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday there will be a Meet and Greet with many of the great drivers competing in the Prix D’Ete, some of whom are coming to 3R for the first time.

The drivers include Hall of Famer David Miller, this past Thursday’s Little Brown Jug winner, native son Yannick Gingras, along with the return of Trois-Rivieres' Daniel Dube, Ontario’s top drivers Jody Jamieson, James MacDonald, Scott Zeron and Doug McNair along with 3R’s leading driver Denis St Pierre. There is a chance that another Hall of Famer, Jimmy Takter, will also be at the Meet and Greet.

It will be a wonderful opportunity for racing fans in Quebec to get to meet these world class horsemen and then at 1 p.m. watch them compete in 10 great races culminating with the $200,000 Prix D’Ete.

The Prix D’Ete is the richest race of the year in North America for four-year-old pacers and has attracted a super competitive field.

Featured are Takter’s Sunfire Blue Chip, who is on a four-race winning streak; Mach It So, who has won three of his last four starts; locally owned Sunshine Beach, who has $940,000 in career earnings; and Apprentice Hanover, the highest money earner this year with $350,000 bankrolled for trainer Ben Wallace.

The hometown favourite is all-age track record holder at 3R, Duc Dorleans. His record of 1:52.4 set last year is more than likely going to be rewritten on Sunday with the caliber of horses in the field. Rounding out the competition are early season sensation Captive Audience, Casie Coleman’s tough pacer Lucan Hanover, and five-time winner this season Si Semalu.

The 3R half-mile track has been razor sharp this season and the young Quebec-Bred horses improving every year with 16 track records set or tied this season.

It all makes for a superb gala weekend at the Hippodrome 3R and throughout Trois-Riviere. And with a good showing it will be the start of planning for a bigger and better Prix D’Ete Weekend in 2015.


September 20, 2014 - 9:20 amVery good PR introduction,

Very good PR introduction, it's not alwats about filling there pockets, it's about given something back to the betting people and attracting new customers, a free meal or BBQ once in a while does show that management care's about people who support the industry. Mr. Trudel, you are doing a wounderful job, I could not have done better myself (ha,ha). You are going in the right direction. Sure would be nice to see this industry become what it was in the 50's 60's and 70's. Best of luck.

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