After a quarter of a century of driving the leading reinsman at Hippodrome Quebec - Mario Charron - has now branched into the Rideau-Carleton scene and is hoping that both his vast harness racing experience and his talents in the sulky will bring him success at the Ottawa track.
“I started two months ago because I want to make a better living and I’ve experienced a bit of success so far. I really enjoy driving there and intend to keep driving at that track until the season closes,” Charron told Harnesslink.
Charron won last year’s driving title at Hippodrome Quebec and is currently two wins clear at the top of this year’s premiership ahead of Marie Claude Anger.
Harness racing is the only career the French speaking Charron ever wanted to pursue. These days he is based in Saint-Lin-Laurentides, a town of about 13,000. However he was born in Hull – the central and oldest part of the city of Gatineau, Quebec.
“Harness racing has been a part of my life since the day I was born. My father and uncle have had horses for as long as I can remember and I jogged my first horse when I was eight,” Charron said.
“Dad even raced some good ones like Boomer Drummond and Rubis Ben at the Meadowlands,” he added.
Charron started training and driving in his teens but gave away conditioning to concentrate on his driving when he was 24.
“That’s the age I started to get serious about my driving. And now 20 years later I’m still very serious about what I do.”
At his peak Charron’s father Jean Paul had a 40 strong stable. Since 1977 he has driven 1,706 winners ($8.2 million) and trained a further 611 ($6.2 million) more.
Charron junior’s driving statistics are even more impressive.
The 44-year-old has reined home 1,785 winners from 15,662 starters. He’s also placed 3,860 times for $9,912,969 in purses. He’s also had 42 training victories ($292,531).
His best year in the bike came in 2004 when he reined home 196 winners. Financial however his best season stakes-wise was in 2006 when he netted $801,404.
“My ambition is to do well at Rideau-Carleton. I know if I can success there I can make more money and make more of a name for myself. Long-term I’d love to represent Canada at the World Driving Champions one day. That would be a dream come true,” he said.
He has represented Quebec in regional Driving Finals.
Charron has won three Quebec five-mile races and the $130,000 Coupe Des Eleveurs 3yo Final withmare, Jenny Freeluck.
He rated current 4-year-old pacer Beach Runner A M as the best horse he had driven.
“He’s a nicegelding who is trained by Alain martin at Three Rivers. I’m down to drive him again at the Hippodrome Quebec on Saturday (July 23),” Charron said.
Charron has two children – Alex (21) and Adam (14). He has been with his partner Julie Boulanger for the last 19 years.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
(1) Mario Charron and Northern Crown winning at Rideau Carlton on July 11, 2011:
(2) The Mario Charron trained & driven Whitemountainpower winning at Rideau Carlton on May 29, 2011:
Scenes of Hull (Gatineau) Quebec. Photography/video by Maureen Chaume.
Mario Charron's home town - Ottawa, ON / Gatineau, QC - Canada Day 2011 - Fireworks