It came down to the very last race of the competition with four drivers, John Campbell, Jody Jamieson, Tim Tetrick and Sylvain Filion, all able to win the inaugural Hippodrome 3R All-Star Driver’s Tournament on Sunday (June 5) with a triumph in the ninth race.
And when the dust (mud actually) settled, it was Jody Jamieson’s second-place finish in the ninth race with Matts Phil that won him the tournament.
Also in the tournament were Yannick Gingras, Daniel Dube, Mario Charron and Denis St-Pierre. They all competed in eight championship races with $10,000 in prize money on the line.
Jamieson, with his 25 points in the last race, ended with 160 points. John Campbell was second with 135 points and Sylvain Filion third with 128 points.
“This victory is just extra special,” Jamieson said. “Going against John Campbell and Tim Tetrick, local stars Denis St-Pierre and Mario Charron, Yannick, Daniel and Sylvain, I’m just ecstatic with this trophy.
“I drove one really bad earlier,” Jamieson said, “or else I would have left nothing to chance, but it all worked out. The track was super despite the rain. It was actually better with the hard rain as it kept the mud down and make racing good.
“I had no idea of the scores going into the last race,” Jamieson explained. “And maybe that was the best strategy going forward. I went into the last race not know, just trying to win it.
“I am so happy to represent racing in Ontario [the Woodbine Entertainment Group] and to bring home the trophy!” Jamieson said with a smile. “It means that much more to me.
“And what a crowd here today despite the rain,” Jamieson added. “I must of signed hundreds of autographs and the management at 3R are top notch. Harness racing has such a great following in Quebec and I hope they really do well this season.”
The tournament started in the second race with Jamieson taking the early point lead as he gave the maiden trotter, Victor D Morgan ($9.90), a perfect second-over trip and the three-year-old son of Charlie B Morgan came on in the stretch to win by two and one-half lengths in 2:03.4.
The third race was won by Filion and Charlie Drummond ($9), who was winless in 23 prior starts. The fourth race saw Campbell, who had no points after the first two rounds, put a lifetime mark of 2:01 on the trotter Sexy P V ($15).
Tetrick made his presences known in the fifth race and he was able to take the early lead away from Force Seelster and Gingras, and then wire the field with Hard Rock ($3.70) in 1:59.2.
“What a super facility this is,” Tetrick said. “The turns here are banked perfectly. Even in the rain, my horse flew around the turns as if it was a fast track. It is my first time here and I am impressed with this racetrack. The fans get right up on the fence and you can hear them cheering and shouting for you down the stretch and right to the finish.”
Dube then got into the tournament with his victory in the sixth race aboard My Lucky Bluejeans ($3.40) in 1:58.1. Then in the seventh race, Campbell surged back into the lead with a strong front-end victory aboard Rainbow Palace ($5.90) in 1:58.1.
Jamieson then surged back to the lead in the eighth race, taking full advantage of starting from the rail with Fortune Playboy ($3.80), leading from start to finish in 1:58. That win put Jamieson on top by just two points over Campbell, 135 to 133 with the final race still to be contested. Both Tetrick and Filion could also come back and take the trophy if they could win the ninth race.
It was Dube in the ninth race with SOS Mach Xtreme ($4.70) who was the victor in 1:58.1, but Jamieson, who started from post seven, had left sharply with Matts Phil, then gave way and took the cover from SOS Mach Xtreme. He then waited until the top of the stretch to come after SOS Mach Xtreme, but it was too late. The move though did insure that Jamieson finished second and that gave him the tournament victory.
Jamieson was the only driver in the tournament who was able to score points in all eight of the championship races. It was also the second 3R tournament that Jamieson has won. He was victorious in the 2014 fall tournament at 3R.
“This has been a fantastic day,” said Vincent Trudel, general manager at 3R. “I never dreamed that these best drivers in North America would come for a tournament at 3R. I believe this is the confirmation that we have a nice facility, a good, fast and quality racetrack and these drivers all raved about how good it was despite the rain.
“The people in Trois-Rivieres and the surrounding area are coming here. They proved that today with 4,000 fans braving the bad rains to come for this tournament and to meet and see great drivers in action.
“Having these drivers supporting the relaunch of harness racing in Quebec is so great,” Trudel added. “We have gone through turmoil in the past and will now show our government that racing could still be a big thing for this jurisdiction. If it was a sunny day this afternoon we might have had twice the crowd we did.
“And what a competition it turned out to be,” Trudel said. The winner could not be decided until the final race of the tournament. Each race was exciting for the drivers and for the fans and that is what counts.”
Live harness racing resumes at 3R Tuesday night with the third round of the $120,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. For a free race program and live video feed of the races, visit quebecjockeyclub.com.
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Hippodrome 3R.
(With files from QJC)