By: Chris Lomon
On a windy, winless night at Woodbine, driver Louis-Philippe Roy
still found a way to make a difference through a selfless gesture.
It was less than a week ago when Roy, who earned the Future Star Award at the 2016 O’Brien Awards, had multiple chances to make a trip to the winner’s circle on the 10-race card at the Toronto oval.
His final stat line: 0-for-8, with five runner-up finishes.
Hardly the type of evening that Roy will want to remember.
Others, specifically those who work at Moisson Mitis, will recall it for years to come.
On December 7, the 27-year-old Roy pledged his driver earnings to a food bank in his hometown of Mont-Joli, a town of just over 6,600 people located about 350 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
“For me, Christmas is the best time of the year,” said Roy, who raised $850. “I don’t like to think of any troubles. If I can help people do the same, I feel happy about doing that.”
Roy has plenty of reasons to be happy, highlighted by his most productive season in the sulky.
As of December 12, he has 361 wins (second overall in the country), 124 more than the 237 victories he recorded in 2016. His seasonal earnings, approaching $5.6 million (third overall in the country), is $4.4 million above his previous best mark ($1,119,916), also set last year.
No need to ask if he is grateful for the good fortune.
“I know that I am lucky to do what I love to do,” said Roy. “But I think if you can help someone in every day life – it’s not always about giving money – that’s very important for all of us.”
It was something the lifetime winner of 722 races saw first-hand growing up in Mont-Joli.
He certainly hasn’t forgotten any of it.
“I have a brother and a sister,” started Roy. “To look back and remember that my parents gave all of their time to us, you understand what it means to give back to others. We were not rich, but they made sure we had everything we needed. They always put us first before themselves.
“It’s why I like to spend time with my family and friends,” he continued. “With Christmas, even if it’s for a short time, I get to go back to my hometown and see everything and everyone again. It’s a small town and everywhere you go, you see people that you know. In the morning, you go to the coffee shop and you know everyone that works there and everyone that goes there. My dad told me that when he’s on his way to work each morning, he’ll wave to at least 10 people he knows. That’s how it is there.”
Before he gets back there – an 11-hour drive from Woodbine Racetrack – Roy will look to add some more wins to his impressive 2017 tally.
Courtesy of WEG / New Image Media
He’ll also look forward to making next year another memorable campaign, perhaps teaming up for some victories with the pacing colt he purchased in October.
Roy is the co-owner (along with Don MacRae) of Sportscam, a son of Sportswriter, who was Hip No. 24 at the recent London Selected Yearling Sale.
“I don’t really want much,” he said. “It always comes back to the same thing, especially at this time of year. I am just happy knowing that I will be with my family and friends, the people that have helped me so much throughout my life.”
Courtesy of Standardbred Canada
But if Santa were to give Roy the gift of a few more wins, he’d gladly accept.
“You do like to win,” he said with a laugh. “I’d like the colt that I bought to do well, too. That would be one wish I would have.”
Roy’s biggest wish for now, however, has nothing to do with racing, but with people he’ll likely never meet – the ones who depend on the efforts of Moisson Mitis.
Roy Family photo (From L-R): Jean-Marc, Pierre-Luc, Anne-Sophie, Louis-Philippe and Nathalie.