Day At The Track

Roy; I'm proud of my season with young horses

07:16 AM 19 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Louis-Phillipe Roy, harness racing
Louis-Phillipe Roy
Ken Weingartner photo

Louis-Philippe Roy recently received his second straight Canadian Driver of the Year Award, but it was his success with two other 2019 O'Brien Award winners that most pleased him.

The 30-year-old Roy was the regular driver of 2-year-old filly pacer Alicorn and 2-year-old male trotter HP Royal Theo, who each captured divisional O'Brien honors earlier this month.

"I'm proud of my season with the young horses," said Roy, who was a standout in Quebec before moving to Ontario's Woodbine-Mohawk circuit in 2017. "I never raced on a big track until I came here, so that was the first adaptation for me. Then after, driving a lot of young horses in the summer, stakes horses, 2-year-olds. That was something I didn't do a lot in my early years.

"I learned a lot of it by moving here when I started driving more 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds and teaching them how to race. I feel like I've learned a lot and improved a lot in my last two years with stakes horses. I'm proud of that."

Roy has driven four O'Brien winners in the past two seasons, with female pacer Shower Play and male pacer Jimmy Freight both receiving honors in 2018 at age 3. He was the leading driver on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit in 2018.

"You need to get those special horses to drive to step up to the Grand Circuit," Roy said. "Any type of competitive guy would tell you that he wants to compete at the highest level. That's for sure something I would like to do. To get there, you need the opportunities. I just want to keep doing good and take any of the opportunities I can get."

Roy, who received Canada's Rising Star Award in 2016, won four times on the Grand Circuit in 2019, with four different horses: HP Royal Theo in the William Wellwood Memorial, Lindy The Great in the Caesars Trotting Classic, Alicorn in a division of the Eternal Camnation, and YS Mathis in a division of the Champlain.

He finished second in purses among Canadian drivers and third in wins.

In 2018, Roy led both categories.

Roy is a graduate of the University of Quebec at Rimouski. For the first two years of his driving career, he also worked as a financial analyst for a telecommunications company. For the past three seasons, he has donated a full card's earnings to a food bank in his hometown.

For his career, Roy has won 1,467 races and $16.4 million in purses. He is the fourth driver this century to receive Canada's Driver of the Year Award in consecutive years, joining Chris Christoforou, Mark MacDonald, and Sylvain Filion (who did it twice).

"It's something I didn't expect to achieve yet but I'm very happy with it," Roy said. "I feel like I realize it more on those kinds of nights, when the awards happen, because in your everyday life you don't realize all the roads you've traveled to get where you're at now. When I look back to where I was five years ago, I'm pretty proud of all the traveling I did."

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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