The start of the stakes season gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday with the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers.
There is both a mare and horse division on Sunday and headlining their respective divisions are top horses HP Sissy and Wildriverbumblebee.
The fifth race is the mare division and ironically the best mare in the race has drawn post eight and that is HP Sissy. Now age five, the returning champion mare, bred and owned by Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff with Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, will be driven by Stephane Brosseau.
Now a career winner of $264,000, HP Sissy returns to trainer Jean Tourigny from the Rene Allard Stable. In her last start in the USA, she posted her first win of the 2018 season at Pocono Downs with a 1:53.1 clocking, parked out to the opening quarter from post seven and then wiring the field.
At the Hippodrome 3R throughout her entire career, HP Sissy, a daughter of Up The Credit, has almost never lost. She was second in the Future Stars Final at age two, then was the champion in the Coupe des Eleveurs at age three and last year at age four was the Quebec-Series Champion.
“This series is three legs, plus a final,” said Stephane Brosseau. “The important thing is not necessarily the very first start, but the last. If things go well, the mare will be competitive and that’s what counts.”
It may not be a walk in the park for HP Sissy on Sunday as she faces some formidable rivals in Skyfall Sena (post one), Ashleys Philly (post two) and Godiva Mackiavelyc (post five).
The horses do battle in the eighth race and there are ten starters in the field, thus posts nine and ten start in the second tier.
The race favourite is the red-hot Roll Will Joe son, Dance With Joe. Currently on a three-race winning streak for trainer Christina Davignon, Dance With Joe drew post two for driver Richard Simard. Dance With Joe is a five-year-old and is owned by Daniel Dulude of Ste-Martine.
Over the past weeks he has posted victories in a lifetime best 1:54.1 at Rideau Carleton Raceway, then came to 3R and rolled off two scores, the best last week when Simard let him loose in the backstretch and he rallied to score by four and one-quarter lengths in 1:55.2.
Dr. John Bradbury of Crookshire-Eaton, bred, owns and at times trains the Quebec champion pacer, Wildriverbumblee. He has prepped for his 2018 pari-mutuel debut Sunday with two sharp qualifying wins at H3R in 1:58.2 and 1:58.1.
Wildriverbumble drew post ten for the race and will be driven by Stephane Brosseau.
Now age four, Wildriverbumblebee is sired by Sportswriter. His past records show he was the champion of the Future Stars Series at age 2 and the Coupe des Eleveurs at age 3. Later in the season he went to Ontario where he won the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Final at Mohawk in a lifetime best 1:51.2, the fastest record of any of his nine rivals on Sunday.
Lifetime, Wildriverbumblebee has but 14 career starts with nine wins, three seconds and one third place finish. At 3R he has raced ten times with six wins. He has also been made eligible for the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at 3R on Sunday, August 19.
“It is not good that for his first start of the season he draws post 10 in a 10-horse field,” said Brosseau. “Worse, his most serious rivals we feel are Dance With Joe and C L Sportaction. They each have around a half dozen starts and also drew the pole and post two.
“The important thing is that the horse (Wildriverbumblebee) performs well,” Brosseau added. “and that he is at his maximum capacity on the day of final. This week, he faces horses that are readier then him, but that does not mean that I give them the victory. Certainly not!”
In addition to Dance With Joe and C L Sportaction (post one), the race also features Majo Lou Beka (post three), Noplay (post seven) and HP Patriote (post eight).
There are three elimination divisions of the Quebec-Bred Series with the top eight point earners returning on Thursday, August 9 for their respective $30,000 finals.
First post time on Sunday is 12:50 p.m. For entries, click the following link: Sunday Entries - Hippodrome 3R.
(with files from the Quebec Jockey Club)