The only reason that harness racing driver Louis-Philippe Roy did not win all four of the Breeders Cup Series preliminary rounds on Sunday (July 17) at the Hippodrome 3R is because he did not have a drive in the fourth division.
The Hippodrome 3R’s leading driver this season was on fire as he captured the first three divisions of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies.
Roy started out in the $7,500 third race for fillies, leading from start to finish by a half-length with Wild River Swan ($4.50) in 1:59.1 over the pocket-sitting HP Mercedes (Gaetan Lamy) with Art De Gagnee (Mario Charron) third.
The win was the second in four starts this year for Wild River Swan. The daughter of Sportswriter is trained and owned by Dr. John Bradbury of Cookshire-Eaton, Que.
Then in the very next race, Roy won again, this time with HP Patriote ($2.30) in the first colt division of the Breeders Cup Series. It was not an easy triumph until the end of the mile as HP Patriote was stung early trying for the lead against YS Artistic Fella and driver Stephane Brosseau.
Determined not to allow HP Patriote to get the early lead, Brosseau parked the race favourite on the outside through the opening quarter-mile in :28.4, the half-mile in :57.3 and to the three-quarters in 1:26.
It was on the final turn that Roy was able to clear to the lead with HP Patriote and once on front they started to pull away from the field, winning with ease by six open lengths in 1:55.1. YS Artistic Fella held for second with D Gs Ninja (Jonathan Lachance) third.
The win was the third straight, all in the Breeders Cup Series, for HP Patriote. The son of Vintage Master is trained by Gerald Demers and is co-owned by Les Ecuries GLD, Inc. with breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, Que.
Roy then capped off his stakes drives in the sixth race, second filly division, winning with HP Pandora ($9.60), giving Claude Hamel an owner/breeder double.
Roy and HP Pandora took full advantage as the 1-2 favourite Clodam Bayama (Yves Filion) could not handle the first turn and went off stride, allowing Roy to get the perfect trip behind Skyfall Sena (Pascal Berube).
And what a trip it was as Skyfall Sena was fired up and cut the opening quarter-mile in :27.4 and then to the half-mile in :58.1 and three-quarters in 1:27.3. It was then that Roy made his move with HP Pandora and the daughter of Mach Three shot to the lead and never looked back, winning by six and one-quarter lengths in 1:56.3. Drift Panic (Gaetan Lamy) was second with Skyfall Sena third.
The win was the second win this year in eight starts for HP Pandora, who is trained by Daniel Martin.
For all three of Roy’s stakes win, each horse set a new lifetime mark as the 3R oval was in superb shape.
In the lone stakes race that Roy did not have a drive in, the eighth race, it was the Mario Charron show as he left hard with Sports Authority ($5.50) and never looked back, crushing the field in 1:55.3.
After the opening quarter-mile in :27.2, Charron let Sports Authority have his head and the colt pulled away from the field after the half in :57.2, opening up by five lengths in the backstretch, through the three-quarters in 1:26.1 and then cruising home to win by six and one-half lengths over Mr Mach Jimmy (Pascal Berube) and Pudong Phil (Sylvain LaCaille).
The win was the second straight win in the series for Sports Authority. The son of Sportswriter, trained by Maxime Velaye, has now won five of his eight starts this year for the Determination Stable of Montreal, Que.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the afternoon came before the start of the sixth race, when on the exact 25th anniversary of when he won the Trois-Rivieres Pace in 1991, the top pacer Maxou, returned to the Hippodrome 3R and led the field for the post parade.
Now age 27, Maxou still had some prance to his steps as he was driven in a jog cart by his former driver, Mario Charron. Maxou was then honoured in the winner’s circle with a special presentation. On hand were his owner/breeder, Roger St. Germain, and trainer, Jean-Paul Charron, Mario’s father.
Maxou, a son of Flight Of Fire from the top broodmare, Lilith Lobell, finished his career after his three-year-old season with a record of 17-2-1 in 25 starts and career earnings of $271,357. As a two-year-old, he amassed an impressive record of 11 wins in just 13 starts. Along with capturing the Trois-Rivieres Pace at age two, he also won the Quebec Breeders Cup at age three in a personal-best 1:54.4 on Blue Bonnets five-eighth-mile track in Montreal, capping that season with six wins in 12 starts.
Race fans were also shown Maxou’s Trois-Rivieres Pace victory from 1991 on all the monitors before he led the post parade.
"This will most likely be his last appearance for the public," St. Germain said. "How many times do you get to see a great racehorse at age 27?! He will continue to have a very happy retirement. He spent most of his life after racing on our farm as a riding horse. This was such a great presentation today at 3R."
TRACK NOTES: After the stakes races were done for the day, Louis-Philippe Roy was not. He came back to win two more races to end the day with five victories. He captured the 10th race pace with 16-1 Power N Politics in 1:57, paying $34.10 to win, and won the 11th race with Yaaahooo Kwik ($6) in 1:57.1.
Live racing resumes Tuesday evening at the Hippodrome 3R with not just the third round of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies, but also the opening round of the Cutting The Future Series for two-year-old trotters with two divisions, one for colts and one for fillies. Post time Tuesday is 7 p.m. 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 - Hippdrome 3R.
(With files from QJC)