Strokin set a world record for a race of two miles over any size of track when he won the $4,000 “2 Milles” Pace at Hippodrome 3R on Sunday afternoon (July 31) in 4:02.4.
That clocking reduces the previous record for the distance, set right at 3R by Aarons Mattjesty (Denis St. Pierre) 374 days ago, by a full second.
There was plenty of early movement in the marathon race, while the lead changing hands three times during the officially-recorded early fractions of :30, 1:01.4, and 1:32. After that, any reporting of fractions is “unofficial” as handheld, but one clocker’s watch had the fourth and final leader, Strokin, completing his brush to the lead under the guidance of 3R’s leading driver Louis-Philippe Roy before a mile clocking of 2:01.4, then going on with even rating under full control in 2:31.3, 3:02.1, and 3:32.3, drawing clear to be ahead by three lengths at the stretch call and the same margin at the finish in the world record two miles. Bazinga Brad, an import from the west side of Ontario’s Sarnia racecourse, completed an outstanding training feat by conditioner Yves Tessier by giving him a 1-2 finish in the elongated race by being next in line at the wire.
Strokin, a seven-year-old son of Whosurboy owned by Francois Morin, had recently set a track record for 1-1/2 miles at Ormstown, Que., a 3:12.3 victory in which he came his last three-quarters in 1:29.4; over the even-longer distance here, he came his last 1-1/4 miles in 2:30.4 and his last quarter in :30.1.
Following a long-established Quebec tradition, there will be a five-mile race at regional track St-Aime des Lacs on Saturday, August 14, for which this and the Ormstown race were “prep races”; whether Strokin will head to St-Aime des Lacs, and threaten either that track’s five-mile record of 10:59.1 set by Sea Donkey last year or the world record of 10:54.1 set by Lifes Thrills at the Hippodrome de Québec in 2001, is still an open topic, but if going he could be a threat to those marks.
The second preliminary round of the Coupe de L’Avenir (Future Stars Series), with $7,500 for each of two divisions of both pacing colts/geldings and of pacing fillies, captured all of the aspects of racing babies nicely –- the need for education and the unpredictability the newcomers can show, but also the promising raw speed, which may only get better as they grow and race more.
One two-year-old who seems to have “put it all together” already is the Sportswriter colt Wildriverbumblebee, who took a lifetime mark of 1:57.4 in his easy open-length victory. Moved by Louis-Philippe Roy to the outside before the quarter to contest the lead, Wildriverbumblebee came his last three-quarters in the vicinity of 1:27, his last quarter officially in :28.2, to take a nice mark in just his second start. Dr. John Bradbury bred, trains and owns the impressive two-year-old. Dr. Bradbury came back in the next race with a horse he trains and co-owns, Brussebeach, but instead of winning driver L.P. Roy here, we had winning driver P.L. Roy (Pierre Luc), with his younger brother L.P. second.
In the other colt division, Histoire Enchantee, which translates to “enchanted story” in English, had an open lead for seven-eighths of a mile, but turning for home the even-money favourite’s histoire became much less enchantee to his many backers, as he “blew the turn” in racetrack parlance, bolting out about five/six-wide late on the final curve, and could not rally enough to regain the ground lost to C L Sportaction, who made it two-for-two in the Future Stars while lowering his record to 1:59.3 for driver Jonathan Lachance, trainer Mario Lachance, and owner/breeder Ecuries C Leblanc Inc.
In the first leg of the two-year-old filly series last week, 10 ladies entered, which meant they went all in one dash; this week 12 dropped in to necessitate two sections, but then there were three scratches, reducing the fields to four and five, respectively. The first cut was held as a non-betting race, and again the highs and lows of two-year-old racing were illustrated. The high was shown by the Shanghai Phil filly (philly?) Vee Breeze, who was on top, lost the lead, and then rallied at two points while winning in a personal best of 2:02.3 for driver Gaetan Lamy, trainer Kevin Maguire, and Ecurie Maguire Inc. Unlucky to show the low point was HP Celina Shadow, who broke at the start, rallied to put a neck up on Vee Breeze at the three-quarters, only to make another miscue on the far turn, although her recovery to stay second offers promise for future rounds.
In the second division, Kinnderuntouchable, winner of last week’s sole division, kept her L’Avenir record perfect after two starts, stepping home in :29.2 to reduce her mark to 2:02.2. Justin Filion, son of Yves and brother of Sylvain, handled the sulky duties behind the daughter of Allamerican Native for breeder/owner/trainer Denitza Petrova.
The $3,800 overnight feature, a conditioned trot, deserves a mention because of the powerful front-end performance of the seven-year-old Musclesxtrodinair stallion Caroluzzo, who was guided to victory by Stephane Gendron in 1:57.3 – missing his personal mark by a single fifth, missing the divisional track record of Whitewater Rapids by only two-fifths, and shy of Seeyou Men’s fastest trot mile of the year locally by a mere three-fifths of a second. Daniel Martin conditions the fast trotter for Michael Cote Gagnon.
Horsemen’s honours for the afternoon went to the father-son team Michel (three training victories) and Sylvain (three winning drives) Fontaine; Michel owned two of those winners and Sylvain the other one.
Hippodrome 3R will now be dark until Tuesday, August 16 while the local major car race becomes the focus of the area, including usage of part of the raceway. The trotters and pacers will return to action five days before the third edition of the “modern” $200,000 Prix D’Ete for the best pacing four-year-olds, with 2015 U.S. Harness Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit and his Team Teague bandwagon of backers looking at making Quebec history in the Sunday, August 21 contest.
(Standardbred Canada with files from QJC)