There was a notable difference in the race paddock and the grandstand at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday (July 22) as many horsemen and women and race fans were mourning the loss of popular harness racing driver and trainer, Mario Lachance.
Lachance, 57, of Mirabel, died tragically on Saturday. His horse in the first race at H3R, DGs Frozen, was scratched. His son, Jonathan, courageously drove on this day as it is what his father would have wanted. To honor his memory, Jonathan wore his father’s race colors at H3R Sunday.
Lachance raced most of his career in Quebec. He had 2,138 wins as a driver with purse earnings of more than C$14.4 million. He also trained 313 winners with earnings of C$2.9 million.
Lachance leaves behind his wife Lynda Fortin, along with sons Matthieu and Jonathan, their spouses, grandsons Raphaël and Timothée, and father Gilles.
A full obituary and arrangements will be posted when available.
On the racetrack there were four opening round divisions of the Future Stars Series for 2-year-old pacing colts and fillies, each division racing for a purse of C$7,500.
After the three preliminary rounds of the Future Stars Series are completed, the top eight point earners return for their respective C$55,000 finals on Sunday (Sept. 9).
In the third race, first division of the Future Stars Series for colts, it was a bittersweet victory for driver Jonathan Lachance with D Gs De Vito, who was trained by Jonathan’s father, Mario.
The race saw Sport Emilio BG and Francis Picard go right to the early lead with SOS Nostoppinmenow (Stephane Gendron) sitting the pocket season.
Then before the half-mile, Lachance came first over with the 1-5 race favorite D Gs De Vito and they were able to slip into the two-hole spot by the turn. When the field reached the backstretch, Lachance moved D Gs De Vito first-over against Sport Emilio BG, and those two locked horns past the three-quarters and around the final turn.
Then in the stretch, D Gs De Vito was the strong horse and with a last quarter mile in :29, beat Sport Emilio BG by a half-length in 2:03. SOS Nostoppinmenow was third.
It was the second straight win for GD Gs De Vito. The unbeaten son of Sportswriter paid $2.50 to win. He was bred and is owned by Daniel Surprenant of Saint-Valentin.
In the sixth race second colt division, it was all YS Sunshine. This son of Sunshine Beach from the top mare Bolero Tallia, was bred and is owned by Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation.
Driven by Stephane Gendron, YS Sunshine led from start to finish, holding the field at bay and drawing off in the stretch to win by three lengths in 2:01.2. Guinness Panic (Jonathan Lachance) was second with Angelo Benjo (Rodney La Framboise) third.
YS Sunshine is trained by Michel Allard and paid $2.10 to win as the 1-9 wagering favorite.
The first of the filly divisions was the fifth race where undefeated Hurryupatthebeach and driver Pascal Berube led from start to finish, scoring with ease by 3-1/2 lengths in 2:00. Her 2:00 clocking proved to be the fastest of the four divisions.
The pocket-sitting D Gs Fairystarts (Jonathan Lachance) was second with Cooking The Speed (Stephane Gendron) third.
It was the third straight win for Hurryupatthebeach and a lifetime mark. The daughter of Up The Credit is trained by Pierre Leclerc, who bred and co-owns the filly with Gina Bragagnolo of Louiseville. She paid $3.80 to win.
In the eighth race second division of the Future Stars Series for fillies, it was Majekyca and driver Marie Claude Auger giving the early lead away to HP Xanadu and driver Stephane Brosseau.
They raced that way until Auger pulled the ear plugs on Majelyca after the three-quarters and they came after HP Xanadu, collared the leader by the top of the stretch and went on to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 2:02.1. HP Xanadu was second with Broncos Sena (Pascal Berube) third.
Trained by Martine Biron, Majelyca is sired by Windfall Blue Chip. She is owned by Bernard Jutras of Becancour, who co-bred her with Biron. She paid $4.60 to win. (Hippodrome 3R)