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Dube’s Bouncing Back, Feeling Good

Published: February 26, 2015 10:51 am ET

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“So far this year everything I do seems to be right. Sometimes you can do nothing right, but this year everything is going the right way. That’s fun.”

Dan Dube is feeling good. As a result, the 45-year-old driver is doing good as well.

Two years removed from back surgery to correct a sciatic nerve issue, Dube is the leading driver this season at Yonkers Raceway and entered Thursday needing only two wins to reach 8,000 for his career.

Dube has won 65 races this year, with 64 coming at Yonkers, where he leads the raceway’s defending driving champ, Jason Bartlett, by 22 victories. He is winning at a 24.5 per cent clip at the Hilltop oval and is the only Yonkers regular with a win rate of better than 16 per cent.

He has won $771,770 in purses this year, trailing only Corey Callahan for the most in North America.

“You have great drivers at Yonkers, but right now I’m just on a good run,” Dube said. “I’m driving for some hot barns and driving good horses helps a lot.

“So far this year everything I do seems to be right. Sometimes you can do nothing right, but this year everything is going the right way. That’s fun.”

Dube said his success was “a little bit of both” feeling better physically and getting horse power. The Quebec native decided to have back surgery in January 2013 after winning 206 races the previous year. It was his second-lowest win total in more than two decades. He missed six weeks of action because of the surgery.

“Back pain affects everything,” Dube said. “It’s tough to be focused. You’re not comfortable. You can’t sit right on the bike because you’re in pain. It bothered me for a while, but I was scared of surgery because you never know what can happen. But I’m glad I did it. I’m glad it all went away.”

Dube received the Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 1997 and three years later was the regular driver of Horse of the Year Gallo Blue Chip. He also drove 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven.

Although he has no Grand Circuit-type horses on his radar now, Dube would welcome the chance to drive in some of harness racing’s major stakes.

“If somebody asks me to go with a good horse, for sure I’m going to go,” said Dube, who among his top lifetime wins counts five Breeders Crowns. “It’s fun to win races and it’s always fun to win big races. It’s a thrill.”

As he nears 8,000 career victories, Dube also is approaching $100 million in purses. He needs $4.29 million to surpass that plateau.

But don’t expect the soft-spoken Dube to readily know his stats.

“It’s good to have 8,000 (wins), but it’s just a number,” Dube said. “I never look at numbers, but it’s good. I just hope to keep doing good.”

He added about his aversion to interviews, with a laugh, “I try to run away.”

“Even in French, I’m no good,” Dube said. “I’m not a big talker. I like to keep quiet. That’s just the way I am.”

Dube is happy racing at Yonkers, where he drives for a variety of trainers including Jimmy Takter, Scott DiDomenico, Rob Harmon and Rene Allard.

“I got some good horses right away and it helps with everything,” Dube said. “The trainers and owners have more confidence in you. I got off to a good start and it’s kept going so far. Hopefully it keeps going.”

And everything keeps feeling good.


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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