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Yes, That Was Daniel Plouffe

Published: February 5, 2020 10:56 am ET

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Yes, that was Standardbred owner Daniel Plouffe in the winner’s circle at Gulfstream Park in Florida after Mucho Gusto won one of Thoroughbred racing’s marquee races, the $3-million Pegasus World Cup.

No, the Quebec resident hasn’t switched sports.

Plouffe was there at the invitation of a longtime acquaintance, Quebec native Donato Lanni, a bloodstock agent who advises and works with Mucho Gusto’s trainer, Bob Baffert. He and Lanni even own a Thoroughbred together, a three-year-old named Clayton who won his only start last year at Woodbine Racetrack.

But Plouffe’s main sport is and always has been harness racing, and he’s eager to see what’s in store for him this season after savouring victories in the Little Brown Jug, Meadowlands Pace and Canadian Pacing Derby in the past two years as co-owner of millionaire pacer Courtly Choice.

“I’m very happy with the last couple of years,” said Plouffe, a grocery-store owner from Quebec’s eastern townships who first came to prominence two decades ago as owner of hall of fame pacer Blissfull Hall.

“I’ve had a lot of fun, the horses paid their way, and I’ve met some great people. I’m now associated with some of the biggest owners in the sport, people like Brad Grant and Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, and it feels great.”

Plouffe is part of the partnership group of Maverick, the Father Patrick yearling that fetched $1.1 million (U.S.) at auction last year, and he’s also taken partners in Plaid And Pearls, a Father Patrick filly he bought for $390,000 (U.S.) at the Lexington Selected Sale.

In all, Plouffe has shares in 16 Standardbreds with six different trainers in Canada and the U.S., including – for the first time this year – Tony Alagna.
They’ll have big shoes to fill with the retirements in 2019 of Plouffe`s two stars, Courtly Choice, who earned $1.3 million, and stakes-winning trotting mare Top Expectations, who collected more than $500,000. She’s being bred to Muscle Hill while Courtly Choice will stand at stud in New York.

Courtly Choice “didn’t have a great (four-year-old) season, honestly,” Plouffe said. “He’d have a good race, a so-so one, then three or four bad ones. It’s very hard for a four-year-old to face those tough older horses week after week, but we lucked out in the Canadian Pacing Derby and he had a good career.”

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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