With a very impressive first-over performance against Choo Choo Blue, Claudi P V and driver Pascal Berube scored a big upset at odds of 9-1 in the opening round of the Breeders Cup Series at Hippodrome 3R on Friday, July 12.
The series features three weeks of preliminary competition for three-year-old trotters and pacers with the top eight point-earners returning on Sunday, September 8 for their respective $65,000 finals.
The second race, first division for three-year-old trotting fillies with a purse of $10,000, saw Choo Choo Blue and driver Jocelyn Gendron shoot to the early lead after the opening quarter-mile in :30 with My Lady Hall (Serge Nadeau) grabbing the two-hole spot after leading to the first quarter-mile.
Choo Choo Blue led to the half-mile in 1:00.3 before Claudi P V and Berube started up first-over with Cor Leo (Stephane Gendron) second-over.
As they passed the three-quarters in 1:31, the two race favourites, Justice Society (Stephane Brosseau) and Kinderunbelievable (Justin Filion), who made early breaks in the race, came charging three-wide on the final turn to come after Choo Choo Blue.
But it was Claudi P V who was the strong horse, grinding it out against Choo Choo Blue and coming on in the stretch to win by one length in 2:02.1. Cho Choo Blue was second with Justice Society third.
Claudi P V paid a handsome $20.50 to win. It was the first victory in five starts this year for the daughter of Holiday Road. She is trained by Serge Nadeau and is co-owned by Nadeau with breeder Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu, Que.
In the $10,000 fifth race division for the trotting colts, it was all race favourite Only For Justice and driver Stephane Brosseau. They sat an early pocket seat to Triomphe Dunharas and driver/trainer Denis Gueriel and then burst to the lead after the opening quarter-mile in :28.
Once on top, there was no looking back for Only For Justice, as Brosseau kept his colt easily on the lead, holding the field at bay to the half-mile in :59 and the three-quarters in 1:28.4.
In the stretch, Only For Justice kept on trotting to win with ease by five open lengths in 1:57.4. The time of the mile was a new track record for three-year-old male trotters, lowering the former mark (co-held by gelding Holiday Party and colt Lukes Pierre) by three-fifths of a second. Cesar Duharas (Pascal Berube) closed to be second with Triomphe Dunharas third.
The victory was the second in five starts for the son of Justice Hall, campaigned by trainer Dany Fontaine and the Gaetan Bono Stable of Montreal, which also bred the winner's sire. He paid just $2.10 to win and is now a career winner of $146,469.
In the eighth and final race on the program, pacer G A Speed Sammy and driver Stephane Gendron wore down Maracasso (Carol Voyer) in the stretch and posted a 1:54.1 lifetime mark.
G A Speed Sammy tied with Atomic Million AM as the co-fastest winners at H3R this season. G A Speed Sammy posted his sixth win in eight starts this year for Yves Tessier and owner/breeder Alain Carrier of St-Henri-De-Levis, Que. He paid $4.20 to win.
Track Notes: Two drivers, Pascal Berube and Stephane Gendron each had driving doubles Friday.
On Saturday, the Quebec Jockey Club hosts the Quebec Regional Fair, which will feature a "family fun day" at the track with 13 races beginning at 1 p.m.
Special activities on Saturday for the race fans include drawings for rides in a two-seat sulky on the racetrack, rides in the starting gate, plus drawings for dining room packages and betting vouchers.
There will be a live horse on display at the entrance to the track for fans to take photos with and specially for the children there will be balloon sculptors and face painting, etc. And all the events are free for the patrons.
In addition to the live racing, the track will also have a special Monte Race (racing under saddle) with trotters.
The Quebec-Bred Series for older horses culminates on Sunday with four $30,000 final for the trotters and pacers plus the opening round of the $470,000 Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacers.
To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Hippodrome 3R.
(With files from Quebec Jockey Club)