Day At The Track

Living with a harness 'legend' in the family

01:17 PM 09 May 2012 NZST
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Martin Lachance Martin Lachance Martin Lachance with his sister Melanie Martin Lachance with his family Martin Lachance - proud Godfather
Martin Lachance - With his sister and brother-in-law-Melanie & Jocelyn Brigas
Martin Lachance
Martin Lachance with his sister Melanie
Martin Lachance with his family
Martin Lachance - proud Godfather
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Imagine growing up in the same house as American harness racing Hall-Of-Famer Michel Lachance. His eldest son Martin remembers all the good times vividly, especially his Dad's fourth and last Hambletonian behind Amigo Hall in 2003.

“The whole family was there. The best times were when we went as a family to watch Dad in the big races. We really enjoyed living with a legend of the sport.

“It should come as no surprise that me and my brother Pat (36) followed him into harness racing,”(Martin) Lachance told Harnesslink.

But Martin was a late bloomer. In fact he graduated from the Southern Connecticut State University in 2000 with a degree in Psychology and Social Work.

It wasn’t until about eight years ago that Lachance was drawn back into harness racing.

“I worked in the field with troubled teens in detention centers when I graduated, but then one day I had the urge to train and maybe drive a few. I didn’t want to work a 9am 5pm job any more and I knew that racing horses wasn’t a job, it was a lifestyle that I knew well and one I wanted to pursue,” Guelph (Ontario) –based Lachance said.

And it wasn’t all plain sailing being the son of a great.

“If anything it was a little bit more difficult trying to prove myself as a person and not Dad’s son. It was a sacrifice leaving my profession for my passion but deep down I know I’ve made the right move.”

Lachance worked as Ben Baillargeon’s second trainer in New Jersey before returning to Canada to set up his own stable in Guelph at the end of last year.

He works a team of three to five and in four and-half seasons has won 17 races, including two this year. He also drove a winner last year and has placed three times from 16 drives this season.

Compare that to his brother Patrick who trains out of Manalapan in New Jersey. He’s had 1,012 winners and won $22 million since 1996. His driving record reads 11,626 starts, 1,416 wins, 2,894 placings and $21.5 million.

If you think that was impressive take a look at Dad’s (Michel) career stats:

Starts:  61,098

Wins:   10,253

Placings:  16,124 

Stakes:  A massive $187,710,149 in purses earned.

Included in that total is one win in 2012.

Those statistics ensure Lachance is the ninth most successful driver (by wins) in American harness racing history behind:

Herve Filion, Dave Palone, Cat Manzi, Tony Morgan, Dave Magee, Walter Case Jr, Billy Parker Jr , and John Campbell, Michel Lachance (10,253). Tenth is David Miller.

“They are hard shoes to fill but I know I wouldn’t be doing this if I knew I couldn’t be successful. My brother has done well and I intend succeeding at this.

“I would love to win the Little Brown jug one day but first I want to be one of the leading trainers in Ontario,”Montreal-born Lachance said.

Lachance singled out Modern Art 5yo mare Sam Swifty, and Rambaran 5yo gelding Pres as the best of his limited stock at the moment.

“Sam Swifty is racing around Woodbine at the moment. She ran second last Friday and I like Pres, he’s the stable favourite. He is a cheap lil horse who has won his last two starts at Flamboro Downs. I enjoy training him,” Lachance said.

Even though Lachance moved back to a province which can not guarantee slot machines in future racing, the 37-year-old had faith in the future of the sport there.

“I’m not a political person but Ontario has made a lot of tax from racing and you don’t accomplish anything by being invisible. I support the horsemen’s cause,” he said.

Lachance isn’t married but has a girlfriend Marielle Marre Enberg. He said his family was close and he spent a lot of time together with his parents, his brother, and sister Melanie.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

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(1) 40-1 shot Sam Swifty trained by Martin Lachance running second behind Black Magic Eyes at Woodbine on May 4:

(2) Martin Lachance studied psychology and social work at the Southern Connecticut State University:

(3) Martin’s father Michel Lachance and Matts Scooter winning the 1988 Confederation Cup at Falmboro Downs:

(4) Martin Lance’s famous father Mike Lachance:

(5) Mike Lachance – 10,000wins:

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