What's the secret to winning a lot of races? Three-time Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion summed up his 2015 award-winning year by saying it all comes down to having the chance to work with a lot of good trainers and the chance to drive a lot of good horses.
With his family by his side, Filion accepted his third O'Brien Award in four years as Canada's Driver of the Year last Saturday night (Feb. 13).
"It feels great, it never gets old," Filion told Trot Insider amidst the evening's celebrations at the 2015 Black Tie Gala honouring the best in Canadian harness racing. "It's been a great year, I worked with great people. I love it!"
Bill O’Donnell, President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association and a director of Standardbred Canada makes the presentation to Sylvain Filion (third from left) and his family. Left to right: Claudette Laurin, Dominic Filion, Sylvain Filion, Billy O’Donnell, Valerie Larocque, Yvette Filion, Stephane Larocque, Yves Filion.
Filion was Canada's leading money-earning driver with his mounts amassing over $6.9 million in purses. In total, he won 343 races and was the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit's top reinsman.
"It's been a great year all around," said Filion. "I would say maybe Wrangler Magic [was the highlight of the year]. I had the chance to work with great connections and I'm looking forward to next year."
In addition to his success as a regular driver for the leading stable of Richard Moreau, Filion teamed up with the Stephane Larocque-trained Wrangler Magic for major stakes wins in the $479,000 Fan Hanover and $223,193 Simcoe. A $575,000 season made Wrangler Magic the runner-up in the Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. She also graduated from the Ontario Sires Stakes as a multiple Gold Series winner, contributing to Filion's third Lampman Cup-winning campaign in the program.
The 46-year-old horseman and father, who relocated from his native Quebec to Ontario seven years ago, expressed his confidence in the direction that the provincial program is headed.
"I love it," he said. "I personally think it's the best program in North America and hopefully we'll be able to be even better."