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Lachance Retires From Driving

Published: December 19, 2015 8:38 am ET

Last Comment: December 24, 2015 11:15 am ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Michel Lachance didn’t want to make a fuss. So one of harness racing’s most accomplished drivers quietly called it a career just over a year ago.

His only starts this year were in one baby race and in the hall-of-fame race. He had no wins in 2015, the first time that’s happened since he started in Quebec City in 1967.

“It was at Lexington, the day before the (2014) Kentucky Futurity. I won the race, a late closer, came back and said ‘that’s enough, that’s it.’ When you tell people you retire, they want to make a ceremony for you. I hate those things. I just want to do things on my own,” said Lachance, who turned 65 this week.

His career stats tell the story. More than 10,400 victories, as many as 770 in a single season. Earnings of more than $192 million.

“I won five Little Brown Jugs, four Hambletonians, three North America Cups. I got to win the Prix d’Ete with Matts Scooter, in the place where I was born and raised, and then I won it again the next year (with Goalie Jeff). There’s people that would give their left arm to win one of those races. I drove great horses for wonderful people. How lucky can one man be? I had a beautiful career, the best of everything. I was spoiled.”

GOALIE JEFF- 1989 PRIX D'ETE

Lachance, a Quebec native who now lives in Millstone, N.J. with his wife of 41 years Micheline, said he didn’t want to become another driver simply playing out the string. “I’m competitive. If I’m not driving the best ones, why do it? I saw too many guys, good drivers, who were driving longshots the last five or six years. For what? It’s dangerous. At 65 and 70, you don’t get up as quick. That wasn’t going to happen to me.”

Any regrets? “I don’t miss it a bit. If I regretted it, I’d still be driving,” said Lachance, who is at the barns most mornings helping son Patrick with his stable and also regularly visits son Martin, who trains in Toronto. He co-owns 10 horses with his two sons.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

December 24, 2015 - 11:15 am"Iron" Mike LaChance....true

Dan Plesac SAID...

"Iron" Mike LaChance....true gentleman and one of the greats this sport has ever seen. Was lucky to have MIke steer my best horse ever ...Ball And Chain . He also won a race for me as a trainer (Grand Circuit at Indianapolis Fairgrounds) when he piloted my 2yo Dr McSteamy (Arts Conquest) in the 2007 Hoosier Stake. Enjoy retirement "Iron Mike" .... You went out on your terms. Dan Plesac.

December 21, 2015 - 7:41 pmA real nice person, I looked

A real nice person, I looked up to him when he was at BB. Never will I forget the time he had a horse that had won 7 or 8 races in a row. That following week, he put me down to drive the horse, the horse was 1 to 9, and it was not because I was driving him believe me.I finished last, when I pulled him out of the pocket, he went backwards. To this date, I still feel that the vet ran out of vitamins that weekend iron Mike did not want to have anything to do with him.He sure made a fool out of me. Enjoy your retirement MIKE and the best of health and luck to you and yours. Ronny.P.S. I still laugh at myself for being such an easy target.

December 21, 2015 - 6:02 pmMike won 3 Provincial Cups at

Marty Adler SAID...

Mike won 3 Provincial Cups at Windsor:
Whiteland Image in 1989, Camluck in 1990 and Artiscape in 1998.
I'll always remember his comment in the winners circle as to why he won:
"I like da cold wedder!"
That sure helped make Mike Lachance unique.

December 20, 2015 - 9:40 amWhatta great driver. LaChance

Whatta great driver. LaChance gets extra points from me because when Campbell was in his heyday, he was the one getting anything and everything to drive... it was LaChance who challenged JC time and time again. Great guy, driver and family man. You deserve it Iron Mike.

December 20, 2015 - 12:27 amQuiet and simple. No bs.

Quiet and simple. No bs. That's the way I like it. Good luck from here on out. A true professional that all in the field could learn from and emulate. Though I did not get the opportunity to use him often, when I did he always came prepared and was able to offer horsemanship in his post race advice. These are things a trainer just doesn't get everywhere and I respected and appreciated it. I used his advice twice in 2003. The first time he convinced me to enter (Amigo Hall) and the second time he suggested he drive in the Final of the Hambo. I'll always be glad I listened.

December 19, 2015 - 6:54 pmI have wondered where he has

John Vance SAID...

I have wondered where he has been all year, hoping he wasn't hurt. So glad he got to go out on his own terms. A special talent who will certainly be missed.

December 19, 2015 - 6:49 pmAgreed. 100% class.

Allan Schott SAID...

Agreed. 100% class.

December 19, 2015 - 5:05 pmClass personified as well as

Nick Salvi SAID...

Class personified as well as one of the purely nicest people I've had the pleasure to know. Cheers Mike!

December 19, 2015 - 12:22 pmA good friend, always a

A good friend, always a gentleman, and one of the best ever.

Per

December 19, 2015 - 10:23 amOne of my favourite "money"

One of my favourite "money" drivers of all time. The stats say it all. A class act, and I wish him all the best for many/ years to come!! Congratulations again.

December 19, 2015 - 8:45 amOne of the ALL time greats!

Bob Boyd SAID...

One of the ALL time greats! I was fortunate enough to have him drive my horse to victory in the Trendsetter elims at The BigM while my horse was there.
Enjoy your retirement Mike!


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