Drivers Discuss Upcoming Tourney

Published: June 3, 2016 02:55 pm EDT

Hippodrome 3R’s All-Star Drivers Tournament is set for this Sunday (June 5) and the participants have offered some of their thoughts heading into the competition.

The drivers will be featured in eight championship events (Race 2 through 9) on the 1:30 p.m. program.

Officials from Hippodrome 3R asked, “What special talent will you be bringing to 3R that will help you win the tournament?”

First to respond was Moffat, Ont.’s Jody Jamieson, who has 7,300 career wins and has driven his mounts to over $114 million in purse earnings. He was last at 3R in 2014 when he won the Fall Drivers Tournament.

“Misdirection!” Jamieson said. “Ever see Monster University? Watch it to find out what I mean! With this incredibly talented group I’ll need every trick up my sleeve! I’ve actually been to 3R twice before. I like it there! I was third in the first Prix D’Ete with the ill-fated Apprentice Hanover.

“As far as my experiences with 3R, I’d say it like this, totally incredible!” Jamieson added, “I’ve rarely felt more welcomed and comfy at a racetrack! I’m a bit worried about what I said in my victory speech after winning this tournament in 2014. I mistakenly said that I hate the people of Trois-Rivieres!

“It was my poor attempt at expressing my appreciation to the people in the area while letting them know that I still hate the Montreal Canadians!” Jamieson added with a grin. “It didn’t come out how I wanted so I’m cautiously optimistic about how the folks will receive me this year.

“Bring it on habitants!” Jamieson laughed.

Hippodrome 3R’s leading driver the past two seasons, Denis St-Pierre, who has over 4,000 wins and has driven his mount to over $25 million in purses, hails from Montreal and had this to say. “I’m going to bring a positive outlook that will help me to overcome any challenges I may face,” St-Pierre said. “And keep going forward to the end! Being from Montreal and having raced most of my career at 3R, I am very familiar with the track.

“Does this give me a special edge over the other drivers in the tournament?” St-Pierre said. “Well, it does not hurt to know the track really well, but these drivers can pick up fast on that. I look forward to representing the Hippodrome 3R and will make it a good show for my fans. It is such a pleasure to be driving against all of these talented horsemen. This is going to make for a very memorable day!”

Tim Tetrick is the lone American in the tournament. He currently resides in New Jersey and has nearly 9,200 career wins and has driven his mounts to nearly $168 million in purses. Tetrick had the following to say about the tournament. “I have no special talents,” Tetrick said. “Just going to try my best and hope the horses respond for me. It does not make any difference that I am the only American in the tournament. I do not speak French, too.”

Daniel Dube is the lone native of Trois-Rivieres. He has now amassed 8,400 wins and has driven his mounts to $104 million in purses. Back in 2012 he won the inaugural fall tournament at 3R. Dube said the following about the tournament. “I am actually flying up to Montreal Thursday,” Dube explained, “So I can have a little time with my family and friends. I do not get back home as much I would like.

“I was born and raised in Trois-Rivieres and still have my longtime friends there. I think I will have a good number of friends and family at the track on Sunday rooting for me. That will help me, it will be a tough competition.”

Yannick Gingras is also a Quebec native and won his first race right at the Hippodrome 3R. He won the 2013 Fall Drivers Tournament at 3R with ease, capturing five of the eight races. He is now nearing his 6,000th career win and has driven his mounts to $133 million in purses.

“It is always special when I come home and drive at 3R,” Gingras said. “This year I am coming up with my son and daughter and with all the family members and friends that will come out, I will have the best cheering section supporting me.

“I drive against most of these guys all year long,” Gingras added, “So having my parents and my kids and friends and relatives all in my corner will be my edge in the tournament. Having some good horses to drive will help, too!”

Hall of Famer John Campbell hails originally from Canada, but has been a New Jersey resident for many years. He is the winner of 10,500 races with purses earned nearing $300 million.

“I am mainly looking forward to being back in Quebec,” Campbell said. “I have so many good memories of being at Blue Bonnets and the presentation they had for their big stake race days. I look forward to seeing the same at 3R on Sunday for this tournament.”

Mario Charron is from Quebec and this past year missed tying Denis St-Pierre for the driving title at the Hippodrome 3R by one victory on closing day. He has over 2,000 wins and purse earnings of more than $10 million.

“I think my advantage is that I drive all the time at 3R,” Charron said, “and I know all these horses very well so maybe that will give me a slight edge. I think that I drew very well for the tournament and have a good shot to be as they say “in the hunt.”

“I am also honoured to be in this tournament with John Campbell,” Charron added. “To me he is the Wayne Gretzky of harness racing. I have driven against him a few times over my career in some stakes races and he is just super. You do not win 10,000 races and $300 million in purses and not have super talent.”

Sylvain Filion is another Quebec native and last year won the 2015 O’Brien Award as Canada’s leading driver. He is the son of Hall of Famers Yves Filion and nephew of Herve Filion. He has over 8,000 career wins and $86 million won with the horses he has driven.

“It is always special to come back to 3R,” Filion said. “I look forward to seeing my old buddies and that inspires me to do well. I get to see the horsemen and friends I grew up with like Daniel Dube and Mario Charron. I do not get to meet them too often anymore and it will be good.

“This will be a great competition,” Filion said. “Such talented drivers. Of course I want to win it in front of my 3R track, but I will need some strong horses, and of course, some racing luck.”

“When asked, Hippodrome 3R General Manager Vincent Trudel said that he would not be put on the spot. He said “There is no way I can or will make a choice of who will win the tournament. There is too much great talent among these drivers, but I promise everyone this will be a great event.”

Statistician Jerry Connors tallied up the driver’s points based on just the early morning line and came up with the following:

(Driver – Points – # Favourites – # Races Points Earned)

Mario Charron – 149 – 1 – 8
John Campbell – 142 – 1 – 8
Daniel Dube – 130 – 2 – 6
Tim Tetrick – 109 – 1 – 6
Jody Jamieson – 97 – 1 – 5
Denis St Pierre – 77 – 1 – 5
Yannick Gingras – 60 – 1 – 3
Sylvain Filion – 52 – 0 – 7

(Hippodrome 3R)