Trois-Rivieres, QC — Driver Daniel Dube and harness racing assistant trainer Mickey Burke had but one plan going into the C$200,000 Prix d’Ete Grand Circuit Stake at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday (Aug. 18), go to the front no matter what.
And that is exactly what Dube did and This Is The Plan was up to the task as the four-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere wired the field and rewrote the all-age track record with an amazing 1:49.1 triumph.
This Is The Plan’s only challenge came from rival Jimmy Freight (Louis Philippe Roy), who after a :26.2 first quarter, came first-over and challenged This Is The Plan to the half in :54.4 with The Downtown Bus (Doug McNair) second over and Done Well (Bob McClure) sitting the pocket trip.
The tempo quickened going down the backstretch and past the three-quarters in 1:21.2, but This Is The Plan was in full control for Dube. McNair came three-wide on the final turn with The Downtown Bus too little too late as This Is The Plan was the strong horse down the stretch, winning by three lengths. The Downtown Bus was second with Jimmy Freight third.
The time of the race, 1:49.1, is the fastest half-mile track time ever registered in Canada and was just one-fifth of a second from the World Record (Cam’s Valentino, Northfield Park 2018 in 1:49). The previous Canadian record of 1:49.2 was held by This Is The Plan’s sire, Somebeachsomewhere in 2008.
The previous all-age track record at H3R was co-held by Sunfire Blue Chip (2014) and All Bets Off (2015) at 1:50.3, both taking place in the Prix d’Ete.
Trois-Rivieres native, Daniel Dube, was very pleased with the race.
“I am so happy to have won today,” Dube said. “And to have all my family and friends here makes it extra special. That was a big mile today, 1:49.1 for my horse. He was so good. My plan was to get to the lead right away and he responded so well.”
Trained by Ron Burke, it was the third Prix d’Ete that his stable has won (All Bets Off 2015) and (Rockin Ron 2016). This Is The Plan is co-owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, J and T Silva, Purnel & Libb and Larry Karr. It was his second win this year and he paid $4.60 to win as the betting favorite.
“We have been very fortunate over the years that the miles have gone our way in the Prix d’Ete,” said Mickey Burke. It was our plan all along to go to the front and see what happens and it worked out for us. I thought we looked really good at the start, getting one-two on the rail.
“Today’s mile really shocked me,” Burke said. “I looked at the program last night and saw 1:50.3 and thought that record may stick around for a while. I was pretty wrong. I can’t say enough how great this horse is.”
Driver Louis Philippe Roy was red-hot in the sulky Sunday as he won five of the first six races on the program. There were also seven-lifetime marks taken on the 12-race card.