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Mach On The Beach, Voodoo Charm win at 3R
Monday, July 27, 2015 - from the Quebec Jockey Club

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Trois-Rivieres, QC --- Sophomore pacers were featured Sunday afternoon (July 26) at Hippodrome 3R, with an event for each sex in the fourth and final preliminary round of their Quebec-Bred series, with the top horses advancing to their respective C$65,000 final on Sept. 6.

Trainer Dany Fontaine probably wishes the final was next week, as his Mach On The Beach has really found himself in his last three starts, on Sunday taking a new mark of 1:54.3 in winning the final C$7,500 colt/gelding elimination. Driver Pascal Berube sent the Mach Three gelding swiftly out of the gate, with the rest of the field of five in a post position lineup. Western Bayama, the division's defending champion, was scratched; in fact, trainer Yves Filion had a scratch in each Q-series event as the filly Wanda Bayama, who had won two prelims, was also withdrawn.

Sitting next-to-last early didn't sit too well with odds-on favorite Sugarsam, though, and the meet's leading driver, Denis St. Pierre, moved him out on the backstretch to rush at the leader by the :28.1 quarter. Berube played some hardball, though, and while challenging in the middle of the second turn, Sugarsam took some nasty steps and drifted wide (not unprecedented behavior for him), finally settling back in last as Mach On The Beach got to the half in :56.2.

At a bad positional disadvantage, but game as can be, Sugarsam made another move frontward from about the same spot he had done a half-mile earlier, getting to Mach On The Beach by the 1:25 three-quarters. Sugarsam behaved himself around the final bend this time, but he could not get by the determined pacesetter in a bitter stretch duel, with Mach On The Beach hanging on by a neck on the wire.

Mach On The Beach didn't race at two and had been off the board in his first 10 career starts in Ontario until making the switch to 3R, where he has a record of 3-2-1-0, and he has shown that he should be competitive in the championship for Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc.

Nine of the originally-programmed ten horses went postward in the filly division for C$8,250, with Voodoo Charm, winner of two of her prelim starts, also favored by the Quebec bettors at 2-5. In the Quebec program, nine or fewer horses as entrants dictate a purse of C$7,500; if ten, one division goes for C$8,250; if 11 or more, the event is split for $7,500 a division.

Unlike Sugarsam, Voodoo Charm did get to visit Victory Lane -- but only after a seven-minute inquiry into the action early on the second turn, the turn which had also plagued Sugarsam earlier.

Big Bertha and Sylvain Lacaille left the gate quickly to get the lead before the :27.2 opening split, with Mario Charron moving just before the quarter from third with Voodoo Charm.

As Voodoo Charm, who had made an early break in her previous start, started to go around Big Bertha to the lead into the second curve, the two came in very close quarters, and Big Bertha took a small stumble, which was the source of the inquiry, but no reason for placing was eventually found.

Voodoo Charm went on to post splits of :57.2 and 1:27.4, and despite bearing out slightly in the lane she was strong to the wire, winning by a clear margin over Big Bertha in 1:57.2. The meet's leading trainer, Maxime Velaye, combined with Charron, who earlier had swept the Daily Double, to establish this filly as the favorite for her final for owners Yvan Mondoux, Guy Corbeil, Alexandre Morin and Francois Laverdiere.

Hippodrome 3R will now shift its focus to another type of horsepower for the next two weeks, as the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix auto race will be the focus the next two weeks. The casino and simulcast wagering will be available at 3R during this period, and on the return card of Wednesday (Aug. 12), 2-year-old trotters will begin their preliminaries in the Quebec-Bred series.

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