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Real Bardier Passes

Published: February 19, 2021 3:28 pm ET

Last Comment: February 20, 2021 4:33 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Standardbred racing in Quebec has lost one of its trailblazers with the passing of longtime participant Real Bardier. Bardier died Thursday at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He was 92.

Son Stephane said he'd been hospitalized about 10 days after experiencing drops in blood pressure at home.

Bardier was one of the first Quebec-born driver-trainers to make a name for himself throughout North American harness racing during the 1940s and 1950s.

He shone not only at Richelieu Park, Blue Bonnets and other Quebec tracks, but as well at tracks like Buffalo, Rosecroft, Yonkers, Saratoga and Toronto's Dufferin Park.

"Real was a pioneer of the sport in Quebec," said Gilles Fortier of the provincial horsemen's association, ATAQ, which had honoured him for career achievement.

A leading horseman for two decades, Bardier captured the driving championship at Richelieu Park in 1952.

One of 10 children in a family from St. Victoire de Sorel, Quebec, Bardier became a groom at age 9 and by 13, he was driving on the Quebec fair circuit, winning three races in his first appearance.

By 17, he'd become the go-to driver for one of Quebec's leading trainers, Raoul Potvin, and when he had his own stable, ended up employing five of his brothers.

One of his remarkable feats was capturing 17 races in a single day, racing at Richelieu Park and Trois-Rivieres.

Statistics in his era were not kept meticulously, but Bardier in his prime probably averaged 100 wins a year, at a time when racing seasons were shorter, Stephane said. Trotter Carpet Bagger, who collected $100,000 over three years in the late 1950s, was one of his stars.

"He was an aggressive driver, and an honest and generous man," said Stephane, who also became a horseman.

A back injury from a racing spill at Richelieu Park in the early 1960s cut short Bardier's driving career, but his passion for the sport never waned. His last listed start as a trainer was a win at Hippodrome de Montreal in October, 1996.

"He loved racing. Up until two years ago, he was riding his bike, and he​'d go by bike to the (off-track betting theatre) near where Blue Bonnets used to be. He watched the Mohawk races every night on TV," Stephane said.

Real Bardier leaves children Stephane and Sylvie, and a granddaughter, Stephanie. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the funeral will be small and private, but Stephane said a larger-scale remembrance may be held after the pandemic.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Real Bardier.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

February 20, 2021 - 4:33 pmSorry to hear about Real. I

Garth Gordon SAID...

Sorry to hear about Real. I remember him being stabled at Richelieu in 1961 with his brother Norman. Real had two good horses - Carpet Bagger an open trotter, and a horse called F.W. Adios that could pace as fast in the mud as he could on a dry track. When it was muddy put your money down - he was very seldom beaten. In 1961 my dad let me drive a horse called Country Lad. It was about my fourth or fifth life time drive. I had the 2 hole the guy that had the rail left and I dropped in behind him. Real left and tried to go to the front but the guy wouldn’t let him go. So Real just sat on the outside of me and at the head of the stretch moved over and let me out for my first lifetime win. A few years ago Real came over to my barn at Mohawk for a visit. He was a very classy guy. R.I.P. Real My condolences to the family.

February 20, 2021 - 2:00 pmMes sympathies à tous les

Mes sympathies à tous les Bardier, des pionniers des courses au Québec. Mes sympathies à Stéphane, son fils, à Coco et Normand Junior, ainsi qu'à Marc (l'oignon), tous des personnes que j'ai connues personnellement, ainsi qu'aux autres membres de la famille.
Réal, toujours énergique jusqu'à ce que ses yeux le lâchent. Bravo à Stéphane qui s'en est occupé jusqu'au dernier souffle.

February 20, 2021 - 1:24 pmReal was my hero. He

Rick Karper SAID...

Real was my hero. He exemplified the racing scene in Quebec for so many years. The stories of the early years were fantastic, like the time as a teenager he took 2 horses to Toronto by train and when he arrived he walked them from Union station to Dufferin Park, along with a race bike and a training cart all by himself. RIP Real.

February 20, 2021 - 6:51 amA Stephane et la famille de

A Stephane et la famille de Real, mes plus sinceres condoleances a l'egard de la perte de votre pere. Il etait un homme honnete et n'hesitait jamais a repondre aux conseilles qu'on lui demandait. Les courses etaient comme un dessert pour lui, il aimait tellement ca. Encore une fois mes plus sinceres condoleances. R.I.P. mon Real.

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