Richard Ready For 3R Return

Published: June 22, 2020 10:25 am EDT

As the majority of provinces across the country have returned to the racetrack, Quebec is one of the last provinces to resume harness racing activity amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Francis Richard, the top trainer at Hippodrome 3R for the past three seasons, is one of the many participants in the province eager to return to action. Richard, who has put up career numbers in recent years, tasted his most successful year in 2017 when he sent out 44 winners, earning $216,219 in purses for his first 3R trainer title. He duplicated the win total in 2018 and notched 35 wins in 2019.

The Quebec-based trainer provided Trot Insider with an update as to how he has managed his stable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Other than a few things, not too much changed around here. We had to lock the gate at the training centre so people couldn't come and go as they pleased to the farm, and we split up the horses into two different barns to help split the help up. We had to make adjustments, but nothing too crazy.”

Francis Richard (R) with a very muddy Stephane Brosseau at 3R

Richard continued to explain the adjustments he had to make within his training regime.

“I have mostly all young horses. So for my two-year-olds it really didn't affect them much. As for my three-year-olds, I didn’t want to train them much faster than 2:20 until we had an idea of when we would be racing, if we weren't going to race until September or something then there was no point in training them fast and burning them out early.”

With having a stable full of young horses, Richard has a couple of promising prospects to bring to the track now that racing has resumed.

“I have a few two-year-olds that I really like. I have one Bettors Delight colt named Twin B Powerball that is going really well -- I bought him at the London Selected Yearling Sale. He should be ready to qualify around the end of the month and then we’ll send him to Toronto,” Richard noted.

While Richard had to make changes in his training schedules and stabling practices, it was easy for him to stay home as much as possible and practice physical distancing thanks to a new bundle of joy in his life.

“My family and I have stayed home a lot throughout this whole thing. We just had a newborn baby in January so it’s not like we were going anywhere anyway, it just was unfortunate for our family members because they couldn't come and see her. I’m very lucky I live two minutes from the training centre so I don’t have to travel much either.”

The Becancour, Que. resident eagerly anticipates the return of racing to Quebec on Wednesday (June 24) under the premise that when racing does resume Hippodrome 3R will race without spectators.

“It's going to be different, it’s going to be just like qualifiers. But, I’m pretty confident that we will be able to have fans back soon. In [Nova Scotia] they're starting to have fans back so hopefully that trend will start heading East. I might be wrong but I hope not. They're starting to lower limitations about things...I think we all started to get a little anxious here when they announced that racing would start in Ontario in June and we had yet to hear anything from our government, so when we finally did it was a huge relief.

“It’s been a really boring the last couple of months but I’m very excited that we will be back racing soon.”



When 3R reopens tomorrow, will all tracks in Canada that were scheduled to be open, be open and racing again? In The States, there are still 2 tracks which haven't reopened or even announced when they plan to reopen: Northville Downs in Michigan and Monticello Raceway in New York. Both are smaller-time half-mile tracks.

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