Yannick Gingras "motors" to fast start in 2014

05:10 AM 14 Feb 2014 NZDT
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Yannick Gingras, harness racing
Yannick Gingras drives his car 45,000 miles year to compete

In the earlier harnesslink.com article on Canadian horseman Trevor Henry, we mentioned his vehicle used for racing and the mileage on it, showing that travel was an important – and difficult – part of the top horseman’s life that many people don’t think about.

This article is the second of an occasional series to be run in the next few weeks, talking to other top 2013 dashwinners, how they get between tracks and the mileage they are accumulating, along with topics of current interest. Today we profile Yannick Gingras.  

Yannick does not use a truck traveling between tracks because he is a catch-driver, as opposed to Henry, whose family also trains horses and thus making him a horsehauler as well, needing the bigger vehicle. Gingras currently drives an Audi, himself, in his dashes to the various raceways fairly close to home, and he estimates he puts “about 45,000 miles” on his vehicle. “Then, of course, we fly out-of-town for the other stakes races.”

Yannick, who went past the $100 million mark in career earnings at the tail end of 2013, has of course come out smokin’ hot at The Meadowlands this year, before the "traveling season" has begun, and we asked him if, since Tim Tetrick had a late start to 2013 because of hip surgery, whether he thinks he can break Tetrick’s streak of seven consecutive moneywinning titles.

“So much of that sort of thing depends on what horses you get to drive, whether you have luck on key nights like the Breeders Crown,” he replied. “Also, I am not going to push myself hard just to win a title – what good is it to say at 50, ‘Well, I won the money title in such-and-such a year, but I had to spend a lot of time away from my family in order to do so.’ The quality of my life is the most important thing to me.”

For a man who spends much time thinking of grounding principles, as expressed above, Gingras was excited about the revival of the Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R track in Quebec, a track (then known as Trois Rivieres) that was one of his racing “homes” in his formative years. “I was a pretty regular driver there when I started out, about 2000 or so, and last year I went back for a day of racing and was lucky enough to win six races on that card.

“You know, just before I left Quebec and came to Yonkers, two of my best friends were Mario Charron, who’s a top driver up there, and Serge Turenne. I left just about a month before Serge had his accident,” a fatal one when horses stacked up just before the half at Trois Rivieres in 2001. “Serge was a good guy, and a good horseman, well-respected.” (In the overall scope of harness racing and safety improvement, it is noted that there has been only one racing fatality since Turenne’s death in 2001 – that of Hal Belote at Harrington in 2006.)

Gingras concluded, “I look forward to going back this year if one of my trainers and owners can come up with a good, competitive horse. I also like the fact that it is a race just for 4-year-olds, so they don’t have to battle the top free-for all, older horses.”

Driver                                Total Wins              Tracks                              Wins

Yannick Gingras

537

Philadelphia*

257

   

Meadowlands*

141

   

Pocono*

28

   

Yonkers*

28

   

Mohawk*

14

   

Lexington*

13

   

Tioga

10

   

Hoosier*

6

   

Meadows*

6

   

Trois Rivieres

6

   

Balmoral*

5

   

Delaware*

5

   

Vernon*

5

   

Monticello

4

   

Saratoga

3

   

Freehold

2

   

Dover

1

   

Harrington

1

   

London

1

   

Woodbine

1

       

* -  won $100,000 race at this track

 

 

by Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com

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