Roy Discusses His Future

Published: April 12, 2017 10:45 am EDT

This past week, driver Louis-Philippe Roy and his girlfriend were moving from Quebec to Toronto.

The 27-year-old Mont-Joli native has taken the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit by storm since January. As of press time, he is just four wins behind leading driver Doug McNair (85-81) as the racing now switches from Woodbine Racetrack to Mohawk Racetrack. Roy has won over $1 million in purses in just four months and has an impressive universal driver rating of .330.

It was just three years ago, that Roy, at age 24, was showing great promise on the Quebec Regional Fair circuit, then the following year advanced to become one of the top drivers at the Hippodrome 3R (H3R) track.

It was last year that Roy emerged as a driving force. Not only did he lead all drivers at H3R, but he also won the driving title at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

In his breakout season last year, Roy finished his campaign with 237 wins and $1,119,000 in purses won. He has already surpassed his record for purses won this year and has 110 total wins after just four months of driving.

Then, after his impressive track record performance in winning the Gold Cup & Saucer last August, he caught the eye of trainer Rene Allard, and drove horses for him at Woodbine during the winter. Now Roy is on top of the world, driving in Toronto for several top trainers.

“When the season started at H3R last year,” Roy explained. “It was going so well in Rideau Carleton and I was just hoping that it will be the same in H3R. I didn't really care about becoming the driving leader or not, I just wanted to keep doing well and keep getting good horses to drive.

“I didn't think it could be possible to be the driving leader at both places,” Roy explained, “because of the Sundays where I often had to make a choice between H3R or Rideau, as I couldn't do all the races at both places.”

But Roy was determined because he was driven with a dream of becoming a full-time professional harness driver, and the dream came true. Yet, last year he was not ready to give up his day job for harness racing.

“In my mind, becoming a full-time harness driver was a dream,” Roy said. “I was working in a way to realize it, but I also knew that it might be impossible, too. That's why I didn't want to leave everything behind too early. I wanted to make sure that I could really do it.”

Moving to Toronto has become a big event for Roy, but he still has such strong ties to his home province of Quebec and says he will try and get back home to visit friends and family and to drive at the Hippodrome 3R.

“I'd like to and plan to be at H3R first race day on April 23,” Roy said. “I want to see all my friends there, and maybe I will get back some other special days to drive, like for the Quebec Series if possible and, of course, the Prix D’Ete.”

Who does Roy feel will ‘fill the gap’ he will be leaving at H3R this season?

“There are some very good young drivers competing at H3R,” Roy said, “including last year’s rising stars Jonathan Lachance and Pierre-Luc Roy (Roy’s older brother), and in my mind, they only need good horses to drive to show their talent.

“There are some drivers that started to race in Rideau Carleton in the last few weeks that can be H3R top drivers,” Roy added, “but I don't know if they plan to race more in Rideau or H3R for the summer, like Stephane Brosseau, Jonathan Lachance and Stephane Gendron.

“If they compete full time at 3R for the summer,” Roy said, “I think they will be in the top standings. Guy Gagnon in my mind is also one of the best half-mile drivers, but I know that he usually comes to H3R only on Tuesday. And maybe the title of leading driver could go to another Mont-Joli native guy, like Pascal Berube or Pierre-Luc Roy.

“I also just heard that Richard Simard is going to be at H3R this season,” Roy said. “And he is most certainly a top driver that will be in demand for his services.”

Roy says the adjustment to living and working in Toronto has gone very well.

“I made some new friends in here,” Roy explained. “I play golf and hockey with Doug McNair and James MacDonald. I'm also friends with Jody Jamieson even if he hates the Habs as I don't like the Leafs as much, too.” Roy joked.

“My plan was to go to The Meadowlands for the winter,” Roy said, “because I've seen there an opportunity with most of the regular drivers not being there, but if you asked me where I wanted to be among the top drivers between there and the WEG, I would say the WEG.

“I just wished I could be there once in my life,” Roy said about WEG, “but I never thought I would there in 2017!

“I don't really care about money or milestones,” Roy add, “My dream isn't to get rich, but to be able to live doing what I love to do and I love driving horses! Like they say, life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments!”

Roy will be kept very busy heading towards the summer with top racing at Mohawk and then on the Ontario Sires Stakes Circuit, but his heart lies in Quebec, where his career first started in 2008 when he had just 11 drives with two wins.

He says that race fans need to check the race program at H3R as he could show up just any time during the season.

“I'll come back,” Roy said. “Just not every race day. I love racing at H3R, it’s where my career took off from and I have so many friends there that I want to see and drive for.”

(Quebec Jockey Club)

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