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Gingras Vies For Hambletonian Glory

Published: August 1, 2014 10:33 pm ET

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North America's leading driver Yannick Gingras has grown to become one of the sport's go-to reinsmen when big money is on the line and this Saturday he will have an opportunity of a lifetime as he vies his first victory in harness racing's richest trotting race with the morning line favourite.

“I didn’t start out thinking I’d be top five in the U.S.,” said Gingras in a Montreal Gazette article by Paul Delean, profiling the Sorel, Que. native's move to the U.S. in 2001 and rise to the top of the sport. “The dream grew as I went along. I wanted to be one of the leading drivers, then I wanted to be the best, the guy who gets the phone call when there’s a good horse to drive. I’m in that situation now. I worked on building relationships with the top trainers and it’s paying off. There are no better guys to drive for than Jimmy Takter (trainer of Father Patrick) and Ron Burke (trainer of multimillionaire pacer Foiled Again). They don’t tell you how to drive. They believe you can get the job done.”

Since his move, Gingras' annual earnings have grown each year, reaching a career-high $14.2 million in 2013 and ranking second in all of North America behind Tim Tetrick ($16.1 million). He is approaching the $6 million mark for earnings this season and currently ranks No. 1.

Gingras is listed to drive in 12 of Hambletonian Day's stakes events at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Saturday, including the featured $1,006,125 Hambletonian with the heavy favourite, Father Patrick, who is undefeated in six starts this year and has just one loss on his entire 17-race record. But the Takter trainee will have to overcome an unfavourable post position having drawn the outside 10-hole in the 11-horse field.

“It’s not the end of the world. With ordinary horses, you can’t win from there, but he’s not ordinary,” said Gingras. “He’s won his last two from posts eight and nine, so it’s not an unfamiliar situation for him. He’s the most talented horse I’ve ever driven. He can do it all.”

Having driven in three previous Hambletonians with longshots, Gingras will be looking for his first victory in the prestigious trotting classic.

“It’d be a nice one to win,” said Gingras. “There aren’t many [million-dollar] races out there. There’s the Hambletonian and the North America Cup. But it will be a good day no matter what. I have a lot of other good horses to drive that afternoon. It’ll go by fast.”

To read the Montreal Gazette story in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Montreal Gazette)

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