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Biofile Michel Lachance Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Hall of Fame harness racing driver. 

DOB: December 16, 1950  In: St. Augustin, PQ 

First Racing Memory:  ”Started to drive when I was 12 years old. In the fair track, no pari-mutual. In north of Canada, a small place called Lantier.” 

Harness Racing Inspirations:  ”My brother (Gilles). I have  a brother that’s in the Hall of Fame in Canada. I think we are the only two brothers in the Hall of Fame, living brother. So I follow him. The driver I follow when I got in my 20’s was a guy by the name of Keith Waples. One of the best ever in harness racing. So that was my idol.” 

Nickname:  ”Everybody calls me Iron Mike [smiles].” 

Favorite Movies:  ”It’s Godfather, by far.” 

Last Book Read:  ”Biography of Guy Lafleur, the hockey player.” 

Favorite Meal:  ”Swordfish.” 

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  ”Just plain, plain vanilla.” 

Current Car:  ”Chrysler 300 (gray). All my life I had either a Cadillac or a Lincoln. And about five years ago I bought a Chrysler and I love it so much I bought another one so I’ve got two Chryslers. And I’m really happy with them.” 

Greatest Career Moment:  ”The greatest moment of my career…I have a lot of great moments. But I would say winning the Prix d’Ete in Montreal in front of my parents and my family. And I first did it in 1988. (Horse?) Matts Scooter.” 

Most Painful Moment:  ”When I got suspended in 1987 in New York, I was suspended. I didn’t drive for five months.” 

Funny Career Memory:  ”The funniest thing that happened to me in harness racing was right here at the Meadowlands. A guy came by the fence and he told me, he says, ‘Lachance, you are the worst driver I’ve seen in my life!’ I said, ‘I know but they’ve been paying me four-five hundred thousand a year to do that.’  Said, ‘What do you want me to do?’ The guy, he never forgot about that. Three years after he was still coming and telling me about that [smiles].” 

Embarrassing Career Memory:  ”Not really.” 

Strangest Race:  ”When I won North American Cup, for a million dollar race. And I was sitting last at the top of the stretch. I got a horse at the last minute to drive. And I came all the way on the outside. And I was hoping that I got a check – and I won the race – for a million dollars [smiles]. (Remember the horse?) I even forget the name of the horse. He was trained by Bill Robinson.” 

Most Emotional Victory:  ”Winning the Hambo here with Self Possessed.” 

Favorite Horse:  ”Was a horse called Docs Fella. (Why?) Because he was little and he had a heart as big as he was. And he was so good to me. At the time of my life that I came. He wasn’t the most powerful horse, by far, that I’ve driven but that’s the horse that I admire most.” 

Pre-Race Feeling:  ”I’m not the kind of guy that spends a lot of time reading the program. Especially in the big race because I usually know every horse. And I make up my mind behind the gate most of the time.” 

Favorite Racetrack:  ”I would say, right now, it’s Meadowlands.” 

Favorite Sport Outside Harness Racing:  ”I prefer hockey.” 

People Qualities Most Admired:  ”I hate people that are hypocrite, two-faced. That talk behind your back. I can’t stand that.” 

Career Accomplishments: His horses have earned over $176 million – only John Campbell has earned more ($253 million); Won Hambletonian four times; Amassed 770 race victories in 1986 – 133 more than the Herve Filion old standard; Won The Little Brown Jug five times and North American Cup three times; Also won Prix d’Ete, Confederation Cup, Yonkers Cup, Cane Pace, Woodrow Wilson, Mistletoe Shalee, The Adios and Meadowlands Pace; Inducted to Hall of Fame in 1993.

About Mark Malinowski

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