Infilise Stepping Down In Quebec

Published: February 19, 2016 09:30 am EST

He’d be the first to insist it’s always been a group effort, but in many ways, Tony Infilise has been the point man of the Quebec Jockey Club.

Infilise, the public face and founding chairman of the non-profit corporation that in 2009 resuscitated harness racing in Quebec, announced to the board on Thursday that he was stepping down.

He’ll remain a director, but hand the reins to someone else.

Tributes were quick to come from those who’ve worked alongside him on the QJC board.

“What struck me about Tony were his business acumen, planning abilities, dedication, optimism and remarkable respect for all, regardless of their status,” said QJC general manager Vincent Trudel.

“He played a pivotal role to ensure the return of horse racing in Quebec. His contribution was remarkable and unique,” said director Guy Corbeil.

Alexandre Morin said his efforts “allowed thousands of Quebecers to rediscover their favourite activity.”

“He’s a man of conviction, passionate about this industry,” said Claude Hamel.
Serge Savard said Infilise did “colossal” work. “It’s incredible to see the time and energy he spent over these six years to help relaunch the industry.”

“In his presence, you give your best because you know he’s an exceptional person who inspires you with his simplicity, respect for others and all his accomplishments,” said Serge Lemieux.

Jean Royer praised his “constant dedication” and his strict adherance to good governance. Claude Levesque mentioned his respect for his colleagues. Eddie McCarvill cited his “exceptional contribution.” Brian Paquet recalled how agreeable and pleasant it was to work with him. “He was always available and generous with his time, despite all his businesses.”

Infilise, 68, heads Quadra Chemicals Ltd., one of the largest distributors of industrial chemicals in Canada with sales in the hundreds of millions, a business he started in 1976, at age 29.

A longtime standardbred owner and breeder, he was in the original group of businessmen who stepped up to form the Quebec Jockey Club to keep racing in the province alive after racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques went bankrupt in 2009. The QJC started its operation at Hippodrome de Quebec and shifted it to Trois-Rivieres with the purchase of Hippodrome 3R in 2012. Infilise and other directors provided personal guarantees of $1 million to secure the bank loan that enabled the purchase of the Trois-Rivieres track.

“We saved racing and brought it back,” he said in an interview in 2014. “Now our goal is to make it so that people can make a living from it again.”

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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