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3R Ready For Opening Day Sunday

Published: April 21, 2017 10:46 am ET

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With constant rains ending and a hopeful prediction of sunny skies and warming temperatures, track management at the Hippodrome 3R (H3R) is ready for opening day on Sunday, April 23.

With a new post time of 12:50 pm, H3R kicks off the 2017 race season with a nine-race live program featuring both an Open Pace and Trot.

“It is very good that we have nine strong races for Sunday,” said Claude Levesque, president of the Quebec Jockey Club. “We have full fields, the track seems to be OK and ready for racing and I am excited that the wagering will be strong too. We have over 100 reservations already for the dining room and we are crossing our fingers for a great start on opening day.”

Claude Levesque (R) with Standardbred Canada's President & CEO Dan Gall and Hall of Famer Benoit Cote

The drivers and trainers at H3R are also ready for action. Driver Stephane Gendron, who was second in the drivers' standings in 2016, is looking forward to this season as he is just 13 wins away from scoring his 4,000th career victory.

“Yes, I am ready for the new season,” said Gendron for this Sunday. “It will be very exciting and I look forward to winning my 4,000th. That will be very special to me.”

Pascal Berube, the third leading driver at 3R last season, has been competing in the recent qualifying races. “The racetrack, it's really OK. I am very surprised because one week before it was just OK and the weather was very bad.

"For this season, I am taking each race program one by one and need some luck and to drive the best horses possible. It is so great to have live racing back again at H3R.”

Last year’s leading trainer, Yves Tessier, is ready for action opening day with three horses entered and all three are the race favorites in their respective events.

Tessier’s Torches Angel heads the fifth race Open Trot from post six for driver Pierre-Luc Roy. The seven-year-old mare by Angus Hall is taking on all male rivals but sports a seasonal summary of 2-0-2 from six starts over Rideau Carleton Raceway, with a 1:57.2 win in the track's top class.

Also in the field is Caroluzzo from Post 4 for driver Stephane Gendron and owner/breeder Michael Gagnon. Caroluzzo, the 2016 Trotter of the Year at H3R, has not raced since December and has two semi-decent qualifying races at H3R thus far.

Other contenders include Coco Dino (Post 2), Rocky Boy (Post 5) and Ghiradelli Lindy (Post 3).

In the eighth race Open Pace, Tessier’s Bazinga Brad, is the 5-2 morning line favourite despite starting from Post 8. He recently won at Rideau Carleton in 1:54.4 and will have the driving services of Stephane Gendron.

He will face seven-time winner last year, Matts Phil (Post 4) for driver Francis Picard. Last week Matts Phil looked very sharp, winning a qualifying race at H3R in 1:58.

Also in contention will be the Marc Andre Cormier entry of Glass Shadow (Post 1) and Solid Performance (Post 6), who is coming in from Rideau Carleton off two strong second place finishes. He may be winless in nine starts this year, but has seven second place finishes.

Race fans attending H3R will find improvements to the dining room with new special menus, a day care centre for children, and on the wagering side there will be Superfecta wagering in every race plus the late Daily Double has been moved to the middle of the race program in the 6th and 7th races.

Later this season will start the $1.2 million Quebec-bred series for two, three, four and five-year-old trotters and pacers, the second annual All-Star Drivers Tournament (June 4 and drivers to be named soon), a special Wednesday night program on August 16 featuring the World Driving Championship and then on Sunday, August 20 the $200,000 Prix D’Ete.

Tuesday night racing will remain with post time at 7:00 p.m. and gets underway on June 6.

For entries, click the following link: Sunday Entries - Hippodrome 3R.

(with files from Quebec Jockey Club)

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