Trois-Rivieres, QC --- The Quebec Jockey Club (QJC) is pleased to announce the revival of the Prix d’Ete as a race for 4-year-old pacers, to be contested Sunday September 21st at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres.
With a guaranteed purse of C$200,000, the race marks the return of a great tradition and reflects the intention of the Quebec Jockey Club to have the province’s harness racing industry return, progressively, to a prominent place within the North American scene.
Initially known as the Prix d’Automne and won by older horses such as the three-time Horse of the Year Bret Hanover, the marquee event at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal was converted into a race for 3-year-old pacers in 1970 and remained one of the major North American stakes in the division until its last running in 1992. Past winners included Cam Fella, Niatross, Albatross, Strike Out, Abercrombie, Matts Scooter and Beach Towel.
To encourage a recent industry trend to have the top 3-year-olds of 2013 remain in competition at age 4, the QJC will offer them a quality race on a quality half-mile venue on the 2014 calendar.
“We invite participants to enjoy the warmth of a Quebecois welcome with the excitement and delights of our culture and our long tradition of quality harness racing,” said QJC chairman Tony Infilise. “This special event will be a weekend celebration of harness racing in collaboration with the city of Trois-Rivières, about 1.5 hours from Montreal. Harness racing is deeply rooted in Quebec as demonstrated by the Grand Circuit success of drivers, trainers, and owners from our province. It is an industry which has refused to die in this province despite the brutal years since 2008.”
C$200,000 will be the highest purse in North America for 4-year-old pacers exclusively.
“Accordingly, we hope and expect to attract most of, if not all, the best 4-year-olds,” Infilise said.
The format calls for the top 8 purse earners of 2014 who declare into the event to race in the final and the next 8 who declare to go in a consolation for C$50,000.
“It should be an event not to be missed and a gathering of those who love our sport,” Infilise said. “The Quebec Jockey Club is pleased to respond to a need for such races for 4-year-olds. We will endeavor to find the funding to conduct an equivalent trotting race in the future.”
The QJC is a not-for-profit entity, led by seven (7) passionate businessmen who serve the industry as volunteer directors, dedicated to re-launching a professional harness racing and breeding industry in Quebec. It began operations in March, 2010, after the bankruptcy of private racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques, and in 2012 purchased Hippodrome 3R. It also supports a regional circuit of 12 fair tracks throughout the province and oversees a network of 10 teletheatres.