The Pick 8 Handicapping Challenge for Tuesday night's Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional Driving Championship is now open!
Your task is to handicap the field of eight drivers in order of their official finishing position in the RDC at Hippodrome 3R. Drivers receive points based on their official finish position in each ORDC race. The two drivers with the most points will advance to the National Driving Championship. Click here to enter!
The RDC races are races 2 through 9. To view Tuesday’s entries, click on one of the following links:
The person who correctly selects the order of finish will win a fantastic prize pack which will include a $50 gift card to the racetrack of their choice, $50 in Fan Club swag, and an autographed photo of the winning driver of the Championship. You must be a Fan Club member to enter. If you aren’t a member, click here to join now.
All entrants agree to the terms and conditions of the contest.
Garnet Barnsdale, Freelance Harness Racing Writer and Handicapper for HarnessRacingAmerica.com
Track officials did a great job assigning drives as this shapes up as a very competitive competition. It’s not easy to narrow this filed down, but here’s hoping the following analysis helps you in your selections:
Pascal Berube – this teamster has several good chances to score starting with what looks to be heavy favorite #5 Andovers Touch in race 2, class-dropping #4 Sheilas Girl in the 5th, Another class-dropper #7 Bendetto Hanover in the 7th and improving #3 Casimir Machoman in the 8th. Berube looks to have a very good chance at a high placing and is our call to come out on top.
Mario Charron – He ranks highly with several live drives. These seem to have the best chance of “greeting the photographer”: #6 SOS Robocop in the 3rd who looks to have a speed edge on the field, DQ’ed last-out winner Pretty Emy in the 6th, quick-leaving #4 RL Playboy in the 7th.
Sylvan Lacaille – he seems to hold a strong hand here starting with the rail horse, Elegant Flecks in the 1st race of the competition (race 2) who should be able to parlay the rail starting slot into a high placing. Lacaille also stands very good chances in race 4 with the improving #3 Sniper Phil, race 6 with #6 Reve Ki Pass who seems to hold a speed edge and race 9 with the consistent #4 Enduring Grin.
Jocelyn Gendron – his best chances to score highly come late in the contest with class-dropping #3 Surf New York in race 7 (who hopes to get a “fast” track), morning line favorite #6 Did It again in the 8th, and #5 Fortune Fever who raced better most recently. Gendron could be coming on strongly in the stretch!
Guy Gagnon – Rideau Carlton’s leading teamster seems to have two excellent chances of winning dashes in race 4 with #6 Sophies Duke, who should jog if she minds her manners and race 9 with #1 Hockey Bum who looks like a great wire-to-wire possibility. Gagnon’s problem may be scoring in other races as he seems to be weak with the rest of his drives. Tough call.
Denis St. Pierre – this pilot seems to be up against it and may struggle to stay in contention. His best chance to score highly likely rest with #5 Arcien Ciel Mirabel in race 7 who just missed in a similar class, and #2 Fire Luck in the 9th who projects to sit a perfect pocket trip behind the rail horse, Hockey Bum.
Stephane Gendron – in with chances to win in race 5 with the class-dropping #2 DGs Suavemente and race 6 with the returning #4 Lil Orphan Cam, Gendron seems to be a longshot with very few other live drives.
Gord Brown – Brown seems to have been the unluckiest in the draw with several drives assigned on horses returning from layoffs. His best chance to win seems to be in race 3 with class-dropping #4 Excel PV. We don’t expect Brown to be near the top at the finish.
Paul DeLean, Regular contributor for Trot Magazine, Business Columnist and former Racing Reporter for the Montreal Gazette
The Quebec/Eastern Ontario Regional Driving Championship may well be decided by the minor placings. It looks that tight on paper. In my breakdown, all eight drivers had at least two strong contenders and none had more than four over the eight races. There isn’t much of a home-track advantage, either, since every driver but Gord Brown has plenty of experience at Hippodrome 3R. That being said, here’s my prediction.
Guy Gagnon– The Rideau-Carleton leader has an aggressive style that suits these kinds of events and he got a pretty good hand in the draw. Sophies Duke in race 4 and Hockey Bum in race 9 look particularly strong, but we also like SOS Goodtogo in race 7 and Angel Bro in race 8.
Mario Charron– Hippodrome 3R’s 2013 champion is off to a bit of a slow start this year but he may make some noise on Tuesday. An early win in race 3 with SOS Robocop, a horse he’s driven before, would help, but he’s also got Pretty Emy in race 6 and Jemba Jemba in race 8.
Denis St. Pierre– If he can steal a few points in the early races, watch out for him. He’s got potential in the later races with Secret Drummond (race 5), Arcen Ciel Mirabel (race 7) and SOS Grappa (race 8).
Pascal Berube– Definitely in the mix here, especially if he can take the first race of the competition with Andovers Touch (race 2). What he does with Shaelas Girl (race 5), Benedetto Hanover (race 7) and Casimir Machoman (race 8) probably will seal his fate.
Stephane Gendron– His chances look to hinge on De Pres Mirabel (race 2), Lil Orphan Cam (race 6) and Gerries Beach (race 9). If he can luck out with any of the other five, he’s right there.
Jocelyn Gendron– He’s familiar with Canbec Klondyl (race 3) and appears to have live ones in First Shot (race 4) and Surf New York (race 7). Definitely could surprise.
Gord Brown – It was never going to be easy being the outsider at a track the other competitors know well, and it got a lot harder for the Kawartha Downs leader after the draw. If he can rack up some points with Excel P V in race 3, and is still in the mix by race 9, maybe he can finish with a flourish with Stylish Bayama.
Sylvain Lacaille – He would love nothing better than to win a title before the fans at his home track, and you know he’ll be trying, but on paper, he appears not to have the horses. Look for him to be right there, however, in race 4 (Snipper Phil) and race 5 (Force of Fire).
Daniel Delisle, Hippodrome 3R Handicapper
Ce sera un tournoi fort intéressant. Certaines courses sont taillées sur mesure pour des favoris, d'autres au contraire laissent place à toutes sortes de résultats. Chose certaine, l'action ne manquera pas.
Pascal Bérubé s'il n'est pas malchanceux pourrait bien rafler jusqu'à trois des huit courses au programme. Son meilleur cheval est en début de tournoi, le trotteur Andovers Touch, nettement supérieur au peloton. Shaelas Girl est une bonne possibilité dans la 5e : elle court depuis peu dans une nouvelle écurie. Enfin, dans la 7e, le fougueux Benedetto Hanover, un super démarreur, pourrait bien compléter le trio de vainqueurs de Pascal.
Mario Charron ne compte selon moi qu'un seul gagnant, dans la 3e course, SOS Robocop qui vient de réaliser un chrono nettement plus rapide que l'opposition. Pour Mario, tout se jouera dans les deux deuxièmes places que je lui concède, Pretty Emy à la 6e et RL Play Boy dans la 7e. Il n'a que peu ou pas de montures totalement déclassées.
Guy Gagnon pourrait gagner deux fois : à la 4e avec Sophies Duke qui vient d'enregistrer une qualification presque incroyable (1.56.3) et à la 9e avec Hockey Bum qui vient de battre son record à vie à 8 ans. Et il a la pôle. Guy, si d'autres montures vont mieux que prévu, peut facilement gagner ce tournoi.
Denis St. Pierre a une super monture dans la 8e course, SOS Grappa, mais ce cheval devra composer avec la 8e position. Sa dernière présence en piste aux guides de Fire Luck, un bon vieux routier qui vient de se qualifier en 1.57.4, va lui permettre de terminer le tournoi sur une bonne note.
Sylvain Lacaille, comme Denis St-Pierre devrait gagner une course, la 6e, avec Reve Ki Pass, un cheval qui a rarement couru contre si faible opposition. Mais voilà, ce n'est pas un gagnant. Le tournoi commencera sur une bonne note avec Elegant Flecks, une pouliche trotteuse qui a la pôle.
Stéphane Gendron ne gagnera éventuellement pas de course, mais comme c'est un conducteur éveillé et très actif, il pourrait changer sa 2e place dans la 5e contre une victoire avec DGs Suavemente, un poulain qui porte les couleurs de Daniel Martin.
Jocelyn Gendron n'a pas lui aussi de gagnant prévisible, sauf qu'il a l'habitude de faire mentir les experts dans à peu près chaque tournoi. Ainsi à la 8e, Did It Again, en gagnant pourrait améliorer ses chances.
Gord Brown est un habitué du cercle des vainqueurs... mais ce n'est pas mardi qu'il le visitera le plus souvent. Beaucoup de gros négligés l'attendent, mais cet homme dit-on est l'un des meilleurs de sa profession. Un gros défi l'attend.
Graeme Mitchell, Racing Analyst and Simulcast Host at Rideau Carleton Raceway
Sylvain Lacaille– Has the best chance to win with the eight drives he’s on. In Race 2 the rail will help with Elegant Flecks. Race 5 FORCE OF FIRE – Race 6 REVE KI PASS leaves from post five looking for his first win.
Guy Gagnon– Looks to have 2 top contenders. In Race 4 SOPHIES DUKE is making her 2014 debut after a big qualifying mile by open lengths. In the final contest, HOCKEY BUM, after two consecutive victories, has the rail advantage.
Pascal Berube– Has live drives in five of nine races. Top contender in Race 7. BENEDETTO HANOVER comes off a good clocking in 1:58, however post 7 hurts.
Denis St. Pierre– Will have his work cut out to win, his top horses come with outside posts. Race 8 SOS GRAPPA leaves from the 8th position and shows some gate speed, Race 9 FIRE LUCK could place well from the 2 hole behind pace settor HOCKEY BUM.
Jocelyn Gendron– Is a mid pack contender with DID IT AGAIN in Race 8 and a possible strong finish with SURF NEW YORK in contest 7.
Mario Charron– Top driver at Hippodrome 3R last year. Best possible chance for victory comes in Race 3 with SOS ROBOCOP and Race 5 aboard DISCO DOT.
Stephane Gendron– Best contender is in Race 3. Driving SULLYS GLIDE while in Race 9 GERRIES BEACH has to deal with 2 inside horses.
Gord Brown– Will have to show his talent to get points. His best shot comes in Race 3 with EXCEL P V.