by Allison Conte
What’s your day to day life like outside of harness racing?
Lately it’s been just the kids. I’ve been working so much that every minute I get off I try to spend it with them. I definitely don’t see them often enough, especially this time of year.
What does harness racing mean to your family?
It’s been all over my family starting with my grandfather and father and now my very close family.
Who taught you the ropes?
My dad for sure taught me pretty much everything I know about horsemanship and driving. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for him.
Was there a moment that got you “hooked?”
Not really. Growing up around the barn I always wanted to do it. I always loved the horses. Probably my first win. That’s when you’re definitely hooked. The feeling and the thrill you get from winning a race is a rush that you just want to have again.
Which driver do you really respect in the industry?
Most of the guys from here, I didn’t know them. It was always my dad. I looked up to him growing up I just always wanted to be him.
What was your favorite moment of your career?
Winning the Breeders Crown last year with Foiled Again. With not being there the one year and missing it, and he was knocking on the door a few times. I believe he would have won in in Canada if I was there, so I always felt bad about that. So doing it for him was important. I think that race really symbolized his career. He went the whole race as fast as he could go, he really wanted it and that’s him and that’s how I am too.
Your favorite horse?
There’s probably three I can’t really tell apart. Darlin’s Delight was the first great horse that took me to the next level from just an overnight driver. Then there’s Foiled Again, there’s no doubt he gives me great thrills and making $6 million and week after week he just gives you everything. And then Father Patrick. That’s the first time I drove a horse that’s so dominant. Whatever you want to do he will do for you. Those three have meant a lot to my career and are all very special.
Do you get nervous before a race?
Yeah of course. You saw that Hambo day. It’s not so much nerves, just anxious, but once you get on the racetrack it’s a race. No doubt if you don’t get a couple butterflies leading up to the big ones I guess you’re in the wrong business if you don’t care. If somebody tells you they don’t care about Breeders Crown night they’re either in the wrong business or lying.
If you could sit behind any horse in history who would it be?
Muscle Hill, just because he’s the one that people compare Father Patrick to, so I’d love to see what he was all about.
What 2-year-old are you most excited for?
Mission Brief-she’s been a freak so far. She has just crazy speed and they’ve done a great job with her. She’s really quieted down since her first start so I’m really looking forward to her.
Something about yourself that might surprise the fans?
I’m really just down to earth. I like to spend time at home. Just a family guy.
Thanks to Yannick Gingras for taking some time from the track to chat with his fans. This interview is part of our new weekly features of faces in the sport, from fans to owners, trainers to grooms.