The Hippodrome 3R enjoyed a splendid Opening Day program for 2016 that featured warmer than normal weather, a super-fast race oval, high priced winners in nearly every race and a full and competitive program with 11 action-packed races.
“What a great day to start our new season,” said 3R general manager Vincent Trudel. “Our numbers both on track and from simulcasting were the best opening day over the past four years.
“The fans came out today and really enjoyed themselves,” Trudel said, “And that was important. Our staff worked hard to make everything ready for today and it has paid off. It is a 'feel good' way to start off the race meet and we hope it carries over for the season.”
Race fans hoping for a hidden payoff gem saw an average win price for the 11 races at an impressive $27. Of the 11 races, only four favourites were winners and all 11 races were won by different drivers.
Usually it takes a few race days before the track surface settles in, but Opening Day the oval was in perfect shape with nine of the 11 races going under 2:00.
The fastest mile on the card came in the ninth race pace as C C Nite Raider was able to overcome starting from post seven and getting parked out to the opening quarter-mile by April Bandit (Jean Briere) in :27.4 before wiring the field. Driven by Pascal Berube, C C Nite Raider was able to hold on to the lead the rest of the mile to win by a quarter-length over Rainbow Palace (Francis Picard) and April Bandit in 1:57. The five-year-old Mach Three gelding is trained by Isabelle Binet and owned by Dany Blouin.
On the trotting side, Michelangelo and reigning two-time 3R driving champion Denis St. Pierre also overcame post seven and wired the field in the eighth race feature trot in 1:58.2. Shipping in from Rideau Carlton, Michelangelo notched his third victory this year. He won with ease by three and one-quarter lengths for trainer and owner Chelsea Knapp.
The Hippodrome 3R will race on Sundays only until May 24, the first of their Tuesday night programs, with post time at 7 p.m.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Hippodrome 3R.
(With files from QJC)