Local Owner Seeks Prix D'Ete Win

Published: September 20, 2014 11:56 am EDT

As recently as a month ago, the chances of Quebec-owned Sunshine Beach even qualifying for Sunday’s Prix d’Ete seemed remote.

An O’Brien Award finalist at three, he’d struggled this season and was near the bottom of the earnings list that determined the starters for the initial running of the $200,000 race for four-year-old pacers at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres.

But the defection of several horses who’d made more money in 2014 created an opening for the son of Somebeachsomewhere and he just made the cut, for which co-owner Conrad Leber of Montreal is grateful.

Leber felt even better about it when Sunshine Beach drew post one on the half-mile track, the first time this season he got an inside draw.

“All season long, he’s had terrible post positions. Then he draws the rail twice in a row. He also got it for the preferred at Mohawk (tonight), which we scratched from when he got into the Prix d’Ete,” said Leber, 89.

Although Sunshine Beach’s form this season has been spotty – just one win in eight starts and $27,330 in earnings – he’s also had to tackle the likes of Sweet Lou and Captaintreacherous. A good race Sunday for new driver Doug McNair would go a long way to restoring some of his lustre, and possibly put him over $1 million in career winnings. (He’s currently within $23,000 of that milestone).

Win or lose, Leber is thrilled just to be able to bring five grandchildren to the races in his home province to watch one of his horses compete.

“I’ll take the money if we get any, but what matters most to me is that it’ll be fun with the family and grandchildren. The kids have been hearing about this guy for over a year,” Leber said. “Now, they’ll finally get a chance to see him.”

2014 Prix D'Ete Field - Purse $200,000

1. Sunshine Beach - (Doug McNair - Mark Steacy - 6-1)
2. Si Semalu (Denis St. Pierre - Isaac Waxman - 8-1)
3. Lucan Hanover (David Miller - Casie Coleman - 5-1)
4. Duc Dorleans (Daniel Dube - Jacques Dupont - 7-1)
5. Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson - Ben Wallace - 3-1)
6. Mach It So (Scott Zeron - P.J. Fraley - 7-2)
7. Captive Audience (James MacDonald - Corey Johnson - 4-1)
8. Sunfire Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 5-2)

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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