Day At The Track

Pierre-Luc Roy returning to racing

03:56 AM 03 Apr 2021 NZDT
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Pierre-Luc Roy, harness racing Rosie Roy, harness racing Pierre-Luc Roy, harness racing
Pierre-Luc Roy Photo
Pierre-Luc Roy's two-year-old daughter Rosie with recent foal by Jimmy Freight.
Maude Larouche Photo
Pierre-Luc Roy in the sulky Photo

Harness racing driver Pierre-Luc Roy, the older brother of O'Brien award winning driver, Louis-Philippe Roy, had important life choices to make last fall with the arrival of a second child. He chose to prioritize his small family and, to the surprise of many fans and colleagues, he stopped racing horses on September 27, the day of the Quebec finals at the Hippodrome 3R for 2 and 3 years. A choice with which he lives well with. However, things have changed since then, and he is now looking forward to taking over the lines again.

Roy had a good season in 2020, by his standards of recent years, with monetary gains of almost $170,000, almost thirty victories and all with fewer starts than in previous years, because of his decision to stop racing. The statistic that will be remembered above all was his URS (batting average) at .317, the third best at H3R for drivers who have worked in at least 100 races.

"I am all the more proud of this average," Roy explained. "As it was achieved without the contribution of the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit. In the past years, I often drove on the fair circuit, especially in Gaspesie, it helped me in my statistics. In 2020, the average is excellent, and without the input of racing at the fairs."

"In 2020, I also had the honour of driving the horses of trainer Denitza Petrova," Roy said. "It was a big plus in my statistics. This allowed me to win two finals on September 27, one with Kinnder High Class, the other with Kinnder Dangerzone. It's really nice to drive for Denitza.

"We kept in touch during the winter," Roy added. "She kept me up to date on new births, progress in training, etc. I obviously wish I had the chance to keep driving for her last season."

With his wife Maude Larouche, Pierre-Luc has been working for a few years now to raise their own foals. They currently have four broodmares on their farms and the first concrete results may well come this year.

"It's a lot of work," Roy said. "But it's a way for me to stay in touch with the horses, without taking hours and hours of training. Maude does most of the work, and I'll throw my hat off to her. It's still nine heads that you have to take care of seven days a week."

Roy has the mare Norvena Hanover (Western Ideal) and her two-year-old is training in Ontario with brother Louis-Philippe. It's a Sunshine Beach and it's going very well and according to Pierre-Luc, it's already rendered in 2.28. A second mare is Sheissuchadream (Art Major), and she also has a foal by Sunshine Beach and her progress is a little slower. This mare also had in 2020 a filly by Bettorthancheddar. The third mare is Signet (Sportswriter) and she has just given birth to a filly by Shadow Play. The 4th mare is JK Soundofmusic (Bettors Delight ) has just brooded by Jimmy Freight. It is owned by brother Louis-Philippe.

Talking to Pierre-Luc, we see that all facets of the horseman trade interest in him. All facets of his 'father's job too. Like many young households, work-family-leisure balance is part of his daily life. Well supported by his wife, happy in his role as the breeder of two 2-year-olds in training, he looks forward to the coming season with optimism. A discreet optimism, like the man, a true gentleman.

By Daniel Delisle, for the Quebec Jockey Club

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