08/19/2016 11:11AM

Harness: Top drivers ready to invade 3R for $200,000 Prix D’Ete

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It might be a short field with just five horses going to post Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R in the $200,000 Prix D’Ete, but the drivers coming to compete are some of the best in all of harness racing.

Yannick Gingras leads the pack as the top money winning driver in the world this season and the last few years. The Quebec native not only will drive Rockin Ron in the Prix D’Ete, but is also driving in other races on the program and won the first revival of the Prix D’Ete with Sunfire Blue Chip in 2014, setting the Canadian track record with a 1:50 3/5 triumph.

“It’s definitely great coming home to Quebec,” Yannick Gingras said. “I will get to see my family and friends again and that is always good. As for racing Rockin Ron against Wiggle It Jiggleit, earlier this season Rockin Ron was 10 for 10 and beat WIJI in the Confederation Cup so maybe we can do it again Sunday!”

Local driving sensation, Louis-Philippe Roy, is have a breakthrough year as he is the leading driver at the Hippodrome 3R and is in second place at Rideau Carleton. In addition, he recently won an Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots division and last week won an elimination division for the Gold Cup and Saucer at Charlottetown Driving Park and will be in the final Saturday night on Prince Edward Island and then fly right back to race at 3R.

“I'm very happy to get a drive in the Prix D'Ete.” Roy said. “Two weeks ago I never thought I was going to drive in both the Gold Cup and Saucer on Saturday and the Prix D'ete on Sunday. I'm so grateful to the trainers and owners that have given me these opportunities.

“For sure the Prix D'Ete will be the biggest purse I have ever raced for,” Roy added. “From what I remember the biggest purses I had ever raced in was last year in the Quebec Series Finals for $65,000. This is going to be so great.”

Montrell Teague is making his first journey to Quebec and the Hippodrome 3R. He was the 2015 USHWA Dan Patch Rising Star Award winner for his superb efforts last season with Wiggle It Jiggleit.

“I usually have to adapt as it seems we go to a different track every week.” Teague said. “I usually watch a couple of races before mine and see how they do their post parades, where all the poles are, and see where the car picks the horses up and lets them go.

“Each track I race at has different times to be on the track before we race,” Teague said. “So I try and stay within the pack just to make sure I do not stray too far away. I usually go a slow trip with him just to show him what size track he’s on so he knows what to do. He’s always smart enough to pick it up.

“He’s feeling good and trained great Wednesday.” Montrell added. “He seems ready to roll and what a great drawing horse he is. I’m always happy to get the rail in a small field like this. I’m looking forward to coming to Quebec and meeting more harness racing fans.”

Jody Jamieson is no longer a stranger to the Hippodrome 3R. He is coming to 3R from the WEG circuit in Ontario and is one of the top drivers in the sport.

He drove in the Prix D’Ete last year and has captured two driving tournaments at 3R, most recently on June 5, against all an-star field that featured John Campbell, Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gringras, Daniel Dube and Sylvain Filion. He drives Rockin In Heaven from post three, who ships in from Mohawk Raceway where he has won his last two starts, the fastest in 1:50 4/5.

“Anytime I can come back to 3R it’s something I look forward to!” Jamieson said. “If there is ever a moment when Rockin In Heaven could beat WIJI in a race, it will be this Sunday at 3R. He’s sharp and I’m hoping he can come up big.”

Last, but not least, is driver Daniel Dube, a native of Trois-Rivieres, who knows the 3R track like the back of his hand. In anticipation of his arrival, trainers and owners at 3R have put him up to drive in ten of the twelve races on the program Sunday.

He will have his work cut out for him driving Rock N Roll World, who was third to WIJI three starts back in the Graduate Series Final at the Meadowlands.

“I always look forward to coming back to Trois-Rivieres,” Dube said. “It was my home and I have so many family and friends to see and will be cheering for me. I will be at my best with Rock N Roll World and maybe I can work a trip and take home the Prix D’Ete trophy this year!”

In addition to the Prix D’ete race, the Sunday program has four divisions of the third round in the Future Stars Series for two-year-old pacers.

This series has drawn another Quebec native, Sylvain Filion, the leading dash leader and top money winning driver at Mohawk Raceway in Ontario and the reigning champion in 2015. Filion will be driving for his father, Yves Filion, who was just inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Other top drivers on the card this Sunday will be Pascal Berube, Gaetan Lamy, Mario Charron and Stephane Brosseau.

-Edited release (Quebec Jockey Club)