Breeders Crown champion Intimidate cruised to his second victory of 2013 at Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, flashing the turn of foot that brought him so much success in 2012.
Driver Yves Filion was content to sit fourth through an opening half of :58.4 in the $6,000 race for older Quebec-bred trotters, then sent the gelding after the leaders, accelerating past them with ease before the three-quarter fraction of 1:29.2.
He quickly opened up four lengths on the field and closed out the mile in 1:58.4, an excellent time on a frigid day with strong winds over a track rated good after heavy weekend rains.
For the second time in as many starts as Hippodrome 3R, he was barred from the betting.
It was Intimidate's seventh straight victory dating back to last September. He's co-owned by trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, Que. and breeder Judy Farrow of Hemmingford, Que.
Blais said the plan is to bring him along gradually for a campaign that is expected to include the Maple Leaf Trot and another crack at the Breeders Crown. The gelding is racing this year without hopples.
Another of Sunday's impressive performances came from five-year-old ridgling Cliff Drummond, who survived post seven and a sizzing half in :55.3 to score a neck victory over favourite China Grill in a career-best time of 1:54.2 in a $6,000 event for Quebec-bred pacers aged four and five. The clocking established a new track record for older pacing stallions.
Both horses had won their two previous starts in Hippodrome 3R`s series for older pacers and they duelled from the outset Sunday, with China Grill parking Cliff Drummond eary, then tracking him before mounting a stretch rally that fell just short. J.R. Plante drove the winner for trainer and owner Pierre Ouellette Jr. of St. Charles Borromee, Que.
It was the 12th career win for the son of Leader Bayama and raised his earnings to more than $63,000.
The two rivals will lock horns again next weekend as Hippodrome 3R presents the $25,000 finals of its series for older Quebec-breds.
Sunday's other trotting series winners were Aquanilla in 2:03; La Senateur A L in 2:00 (now three-for-three in series action); and 25-1 upsetter Annie P V in 2:03.1. The other pacing divisions were won by Jordan Boy in 1:59.3; Andro Madi in 1:59.2; and repeat winner Intense in 1:57.1.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Hippodrome 3R.
(Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)